Executive Director: Dumisani Sanele Gqiba
The love of Mathematics and Science as a young boy has helped him become what he wants to be in the water and sanitation field.
Dumisani Sanele Gqiba (53) from Ngqeleni, near Umthatha, in the Eastern Cape, has just been appointed as the Executive Director, Water and Sanitation Services at Harry Gwala District Munciaplity.
Gqiba matriculated at Blythswood Institution in Butterworth, Eastern Cape. He pursued a Bachelor of Science (BSC) degree in Geology and Applied Mathematics at the then University of Durban Westville, which is now the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1989, graduating with Dean’s commendation. He then did a BSC Honours degree in Applied Geology at the University of Witswatersrand in 1991. He was employed by the Western Holdings Gold mine in the Free-State as a Rock Mechanic.
Being inspired by Nelson Mandela’s words: “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world,” Gqiba pursued a Higher Diploma in Computer Science at the University of Witswatersrand in 1991. More so, he further acquired a Diploma in Data Matrix at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in 1999.
Gqiba was then appointed by the Department of Water Affairs, which is now the Department of Water and Sanitation in King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape in the Water Resources Management Directorate. Thereafter, he moved to Council for Geo-Science in Pretoria in the Water and Environment Section for eight years.
Because of his innate drive and tenacity for water services Gqiba did a National Diploma in Civil Engineering at the Central University of Technology in the Free State, which he passed with Cum Laude. Subsequent to that, he pursued a Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech Degree) at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria.
He has also worked at consultancy firms such as Ground Water Africa, Engineers and KV3 Consulting Engineers. Before being appointed at Harry Gwala, he was at the Alfred Nzo District Municipality, where he was employed as the Water Conservation and Water Demand Manager and later the Director of Water Services Provisioning (Operation and Maintenance).
He is registered as a Professional Scientist with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Profession, SACNASP , Pr. Nat. Sc . In addition to that, he is also registered as a candidate Engineering Technologist with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).
“I want to ensure that I contribute to implementing the vision of Harry Gwala District Municipality by ensuring that basic water services are delivered efficiently, water schemes are functional, reduction of backlog and very importantly, develop Human Resources by ensuring that plumbers are registered artisans, that there are process controls to the required standards of regulation.
He has acquired numerous awards in Best Project Implementation in Barbeton, Best Implementation of the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant (MWIG), where he devised models to spend the grant effectively and the acquisition of more funding in the Eastern Cape Province.
Water Services Department Overview and Units
The Water Services Department is the department responsible for executing the Harry Gwala District Municipality Water Services Authority (WSA) function. The department is divided into 3 units working together to full fill the mandate of water services provision as per the South African Constitution, Water Services Act (108 of 1997), National Water Act (36 of 1998) as well as the Strategic Framework of the Water Services (2003). The three units are planning and designing, Water Governance & Customer Care as well as Operations and Maintenance unit.
Planning and Design Unit
The Water Services Department through its Planning and design unit has the responsibility to perform all the planning for new projects and ensure that the department has all the planning systems in place. It also has the responsibility to develop the water and sanitation master planning documents of which the Water Services Development Plan (WSDP) is the key document.
The WSDP is the document that acts as an Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for Water and sanitation services. It gives that specific attention to the backlog, water and sanitation service levels water conservation and demand management and all other activities of the water services delivery within the municipality.
Currently the department has engaged the service provider that is working with the water service department staff in reviewing the existing master planning document. This exercise is as assistance to the municipality in prioritizing the areas that need urgent attention in terms of service delivery.
Water Governance and Customer Care Unit
The Water Governance and Customer Care unit is the regulatory arm of the Water Services Department. It has the mandate of ensuring that the municipality is complying with National standards and legislation of the water service delivery. Among the duties that the unit has to perform is to ensure that the water and sanitation customers are well protected and satisfied. The most crucial of the unit is to ensure the development and implementation of the water services policies and by-laws.
Over and above this the unit performs awareness’s and educational campaigns where the communities get educated on their rights through the customer care charter, education on policies and by-laws, water conservation tips as well as health & hygiene tips. The unit also has the responsibility to ensure that the Municipality is complying with the National Standards of water quality and educate people of safety measures in case where the water quality is threatened.
Operations and Maintenance Unit
Operations and Maintenance is the biggest unit in the Water Services Department in terms of staff turnover and the complexity of duties performed by the unit. It has its work divided into satellites and those satellites have been strategically placed according to the Local Municipality it serves. Each satellite has an Area Manager responsible for it, and they report to the Director Operations & Maintenance. Most of the water challenges and achievements of the water services function emanates through this unit of the water services department.
The department is currently faced with some challenges of the water provision however it is working hard to improve the situation day by day. The issues of old infrastructure that hinders and interrupt water supply, vandalism and the poor workmanship of the work from the inherited schemes are but the few to mention.
The focus of the unit is to improve the lives of the Harry Gwala District Municipality by supplying the water of the good quality and provide proper systems for sanitation services.