STATEMENT: Appointment of An Acting Accounting Authority At Umgeni Water
It is widely known by now that the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Pietermaritzburg, has reviewed and set aside the decision of the former Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to disband the previous Board of Umgeni Water and replace it with an Interim Board. In his ruling, Justice J. Bezuidenhout found both decisions (disbandment of previous Board and appointment of an Interim Board) to be unlawful and awarded costs in favour of the nine applicants, all of whom were members of the disbanded Board.
The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Mr. Senzo Mchunu, MP, has acted swiftly and begun the process of ratification, as prescribed in the High Court judgment. In terms of Section 35 read in conjunction with Schedule 1 procedure of the Water Services Act of 1997, Ministerial approval of recommended names for appointment to a Board is required, followed by the submission of these names to the National Government Cabinet for endorsement, before Board business can begin. In executing the court outcomes, the disestablishment of Umgeni Water’s Interim Board will also have to occur.
In the instance of disestablishment, Section 49 of the Public Service Management Act No 1 of 1999 prescribes that the Chief Executive of an entity of State automatically becomes the Accounting Authority. To this effect, Minister Mchunu has formalised the appointment of the Acting Chief Executive of Umgeni Water, Mr. Sandile Bonga Dube, as Accounting Authority, while the mandatory process for the appointment of the disbanded Board is being completed.
This serves to inform all stakeholders that processes are underway for the appointment of the Board and that the Acting Accounting Authority will continue governance oversight functions.
Mr. Dube is an experienced engineer who has extensive knowledge about the business of Umgeni Water, having served in an Executive capacity within the organisation and, before that, in entities involved in service delivery. Mr. Dube holds various academic qualifications, among them a Master of Science Degree in Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand and a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the Durban University of Technology.
Stakeholders of Umgeni Water are assured that under the stewardship of Mr. Dube there will be full compliance with all governance prescripts and commitments of Umgeni Water, including uninterrupted product and services provision.