/ 20 December 2022

Senzo Mchunu (Grade B)

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Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu. (PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images)

Water and Sanitation

Key Goals

  1. Fast-tracking the finalisation of the form that the National Water Infrastructure Resources Agency will take: Achieved
  2. Maintain and extend water provision: Progress
  3. Reconfigure beleaguered water boards: Progress
  4. Establish the Water Economic Regulator: Achieved


Fourteen months into the job, Senzo Mchunu has sought to stabilise a department that has been a shambles for years, plagued by corruption and crumbling water infrastructure that has left taps running dry in many parts of South Africa.

He has secured praise with his appointment of engineer Sean Phillips as his director general and has ensured that all senior posts in his department are filled. 

Mchunu has reached out to civil society and water specialists — with noble intentions but little follow through — and attended most water and sanitation portfolio committee meetings, in contrast to his predecessors,and is viewed as being transparent about his department’s shortcomings. 

After a nine-year wait, his department has reinstated the Blue and Green Drop reporting standards, which begins to restore credibility, but also shows just how bad the failure is across the entire water sector. Mchunu needs to enforce that the heads of the municipal managers responsible for the country’s water crisis start rolling.

He has fast-tracked the finalisation of the form that the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency will take. The draft bill has gone through cabinet and is now at the consultation stage.
Mchunu has placed a strong emphasis on partnership with the private sector and is reconfiguring beleaguered water boards, based on their footprint, number and legislative and political mandates.

Minister Says

Without sounding over-confident, I think we have performed very well. I always say to the department … that we have challenges because that’s what we were employed for, to identify challenges and then overcome them.

The department has too many investigation dockets … It is something that I’m very worried about and keen to change it around.
And the only way to change it around is to intensify and complete these investigations.

My message to the employees at the department is that we will tackle you head on about corruption.


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