REMARKS BY THE MINISTER OF ENVIROMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE HON. S KASUKUWERE, MP ON THE OCCASION OF THE APPOINTMENT OF THE ZINWA BOARD ON MAY 16 2014
Our Invited Guests,
Development partners of the Water Sector,
We are gathered here today for the announcement of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Board of Directors. These men and women that are being appointed today shall be carrying the aspirations of the nation on their shoulders in so far as water is concerned. Simply put, they have a huge task to accomplish.
The Board comes at a time when taps are dry in our households; water pollution is at peak in most of our dams and rivers, while mothers and girls in the rural areas are walking long distances to fetch water. Farmers need water permits, our mines and industries need water while most of our towns need new water sources. All these challenges require a visionary and competent Board to give ZINWA the much needed strategic direction for the next three years.
EXPECTATIONS FOR THE BOARD
At your first meeting you shall elect your deputy chairperson. Once done, I urge you to thoroughly probe issues ZINWA is grappling with in terms of operational challenges which have hindered its ability to effectively execute its mandate as a water authority.
The Authority has just developed a strategic plan which will guide its operations into the future. The Board is expected to oversee the implementation of this plan and where necessary, review and align it with the Authority’s National aspirations as spelt out in the Zim –Asset.
Several strategic water infrastructure projects remain incomplete, among them Gwayi-Tshangani Dam, Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam and several others. Iam looking up to this new board to forge strategic partnerships that will facilitate the mobilization of resources required for the completion of these projects.
As you would all know, ladies and gentlemen ZINWA’s main asset is WATER. Their business is about WATER. To that end I will look up to these men and women here today to draw up sustainable and viable water pricing strategies that would ensure the affordability and accessibility of water to all citizens all the time, whilst at the same time ensuring the viability of the Authority. It will thus be the duty of the board to come up with clear and practical strategies of ensuring improved revenue streams into ZINWA.
People need water and are ready to pay for the service, at the right price. Without scaring you, let me hasten to say that at the moment the Authority finds itself failing to collect debts in excess of US$100 million dollars owed by local authorities, private consumers, irrigating farmers and Government departments for a variety of reasons. This board is expected to come up with mechanisms that will ensure the “User Pays Principle”applies.
Let me take this opportunity to dispel the myth that is FREE. Yes, as rain falling on your field it is, but once I deliver it in a truck, pipe or to your field edge, you will need to pay for the service. Equally, if I pump, treat and convey all the way to your house surely you will need to PAY to sustain the service. Pumping costs money, treating costs money, and conveying costs money. The conveyance network itself also costs money! So why not pay for this service.
I will also expect the board to grow the Authority’s revenue base through the expansion and development of the strategic business units such as Borehole Drilling, Water Supply and Waste Water Treatment Unit, Water bottling as well as continued education and registration of all raw water users .These activities are provided for in the ZINWA Act and also contained in the National Water Policy and are in the interest of value addition as spelt out in our Zim-Asset.
To achieve this, I will expect the Board to critically look at the ZINWA organizational structure and asses its suitability and appropriateness to deliver. Where, necessary please remove the “fat” and give it back to me. The board will need to come up with modern and efficient ways of strengthening the ZINWA human resource base with the view to retaining professional staff and coming up with motivation strategies for the critical staff.
I also expect the board to inculcate a business culture in ZINWA through the implementation of the Performance Management System also known as Result Based Management
In conclusion, I would therefore want to implore the new board to live up to the task. The task ahead is huge, the road will not be smooth and the going maybe arduous, but I am positive that through our collective effort and unity of purpose, we will deliver.
I have also started implementing Government’s new gender parity policy with five women in the 10 member Board. Perhaps this is a first, but for what I know, it is largely our womenfolk and the girl child who bear the brunt of poor water, sanitation and hygiene services. It is therefore my fervent hope and belief that needs of these vulnerable groups shall be given due attention.
I THANK YOU