IOL - KWAZULU-NATAL / 02 DECEMBER 2019 - 11:00 / MPHATHI NXUMALO
Durban - UMGENI Water is showing state-owned enterprises how it should be done, as it made more than R1billion in profit in the last financial year, Umgeni Water chairperson Ziphozethu Mathenjwa said.
She said the organisation had increased profits for 2018-2019 by R200million from the previous financial year. These profits would be re-invested into operations, she said.
The Chairperson of the Board of Umgeni Water, Ziphozethu Gabsie Mathenjwa.
Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)
“We are an organisation that can meet its financial commitments,” Mathenjwa said. She commented as Eskom and South African Airways have been in the news for their financial woes, which have cost the country billions of rand. Mathenjwa said they were aiming to be a model for how a state-owned enterprise should be run and added that they did not have to ask the government for bailouts.
Another achievement was that Umgeni was going to receive an unqualified audit for the third year in a row.
There are numerous projects that Umgeni Water are also embarking on. One of these is the Lower uMkhomazi Dam, which is expected to supply water to about 500000 people from eManzimtoti down to Hibberdene.
Thami Hlongwa, chief executive of Umgeni Water, said they had 14 water plants. Three of these were problematic, but they are now working properly, he said.
There were lowlights too. Hlongwa said disturbances from business forums and military veterans, among others, who demanded to get 30% of projects, hindered their work. Hlongwa said instead of taking a confrontational attitude with these groups, they decided to engage the groups to discuss their demands. He said this approach has helped them as they realised that some of the groups did not understand how the allocation of 30% of work to black economic empowerment companies worked.
Hlongwa said some people he had engaged with thought that, just by having a registered business, it meant they could be involved in projects - which was not the case.
He noted that Umgeni Water had exceeded the 30% empowerment target and reached 35% (R180m).
Lungi Mkhize, Umgeni Water Chief Financial Officer, said a problem they had was of municipalities not paying money that was due to them, within the allocated 40 days. She said they had a debt of R1.7bn, but this was being regularly serviced and they had recently paid R79m.
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