Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

South Africa and Netherlands governments have undertaken to forge more cooperation opportunities in the water and sanitation sector in efforts to strength the existing relations between the two states.

This undertaking was made on Tuesday, 27 February 2024 in Pretoria when the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Mr Senzo Mchunu, joined by Director-General, Dr Sean Phillips met with the Ambassador of Netherlands to South Africa, Joanne Doornewaard.

The meeting between Minister Mchunu and Ambassador Doornewaard was the first one since she was posted to South Africa in August 2023. Several issues were discussed, including the bilateral agreement on water management between the two countries as well as other collaboration opportunities in the water and sanitation sector.

Expanding on the existing relations between the two states, Minister Mchunu appreciated Netherlands expertise and the contribution that they are making in the water and sanitation space, saying that it has a significant impact. Acknowledging, the assistance from Netherlands government, he said the visit by the King and Queen of Netherlands to South Africa, as part of the Blue Deal Project, demonstrated the love they have for the people of South Africa.

Minister Mchunu outlined some challenges that the country continues to face includes the delipidating infrastructure at municipal level as well as water losses as a result of that.

“South Africa remains one of the driest countries in the world, yet we have a high rate of non-venue water at municipal level, losing so much water that we so need. We need lots of work around this matter, that is investing more on our water infrastructure, to ensure that we nip this in a bud”, he emphasised.

In addition, Minister Mchunu said that South Africa has more challenges on water services that it has on water resources, saying the dams are full but the ability to take that water to the taps. However, he said, there is no water crisis in the country, what is experienced, are isolated incidences that do not equate to a crisis.

Director General, Dr Phillips said the department and the sector at large is reaping the benefits of some programmes undertaken by the Netherlands government under the Blue Deal project, particularly in the supply chain management in the infrastructure procurement.

“We have had an internationally renowned expert in infrastructure procurement who has imparted so much knowledge that we are currently implementing to modernise our systems. This is going to make a huge improvement in our service delivery, and we want to take this to our water boards and municipalities to implement as well”, he said.

Ambassador Doornewaard outlined several projects that they want to undertake in Limpopo and other parts of the country as part of support to the country’s water challenges and other sectors, saying they just want to lend a helping hand to the country.

South Africa and Netherlands signed a Blue Deal agreement which aims to support water management by exchanging knowledge and experiences, assist the national, regional and local organisations and cooperate with key stakeholders. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.

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