The Chairperson of the Board of Umgeni Water, Ms Ziphozethu Gabsie Mathenjwa, has been re-appointed as the Chairperson of the new permanent Board of Umgeni Water. This was announced by the Office of the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Mr Gugile Nkwinti, on Friday, 3rd May 2019. Ms Mathenjwa’s appointment, along with the appointment of thirteen (13) other Board members, will take immediate effect and be for a term of four (4) years. Up until this stage Umgeni Water had a Board that was appointed in 2017 for a fixed term and Chaired by Ms Mathenjwa.
Other members of the Board of Umgeni Water announced by the Minister of Water and Sanitation on 3rd May 2019 were:
|Professor Thandwa Mthembu||Mr Siboniso Shabalala|
|Mr Mduduzi Eric Zakwe||Ms Nompumelelo Beata Chamane|
|Mr Visvin Reddy||Mr William Mapena|
|Mr Teboho Nkhahle||Mrs Linda Ngcobo|
|Ms Bongekile Zulu||Mr Suleman Badat|
|Mrs Mbali Barbra Ndlovu||Advocate Simose Nkosi Chamane|
|Mr Thamsanqa Hlongwa (Chief Executive)|
Umgeni Water is a high-performing and financially sustainable water board that has seven (7), municipal customers. The customers are: eThekwini Metro; the District Municipalities of uMgungundlovu, Ugu, Harry Gwala, iLembe and uThukela, and Msunduzi Local Municipality. Umgeni Water supplies potable (drinking) water in bulk to these municipalities.
Friday’s announcement by the Minister of Water and Sanitation now completes the Ministry’s commitment to ensure that a permanent Board is in place at Umgeni Water, and it will further strengthen governance at Umgeni Water where governance in all in its manifestations, including strict adherence to the King Reports on Good Corporate Governance, is a major focus area and has been the catalyst for the organisation’s consistent achievement of clean or unqualified audits.
Confirmation of Ms Mathenjwa’s continuation as Chairperson is a major boon to Umgeni Water. Fundamentally, it will strengthen continuation of Board business and ensure that both strong and effective leadership remain as the organisation focuses its strategies, expertise and strength towards organic growth through increasing its footprint in KwaZulu-Natal.
Ms Mathenjwa, a highly experienced businessperson and respected water sector strategist, will provide leadership in order to support Umgeni Water’s collaboration on expertise with municipalities and achieve the organisation’s objective to become a world-class organisation.
Said Ms Mathenjwa: “I am delighted that finality has been reached on appointment of a permanent Board. This move will further instil stakeholder confidence and play a pivotal role in ensuring that added strength and energy are given to oversight. The new Board has both a valuable and important role to play in ensuring the organisation stays focused on high quality delivery, in governance performance and the results it produces in product quality, infrastructure implementation and, equally importantly, on the six million consumers that receive safe drinking water treated by Umgeni Water. This will continue to be done so that the high standards to which Umgeni Water subscribes and operates are consistently maintained. I am confident that this Board will provide guidance and leadership in the organisation’s execution of its mandate.”
Ms Mathenjwa will continue to share her leadership expertise, business acumen and wealth of experience she has in both the public and private sectors. Her exposure to global platforms and audiences, among them the United Nations and World Economic Forum, will provide strategic value to Umgeni Water as it endeavours to consolidate and establish new relations internationally.
Ms Mathenjwa is an epitome of success – and struggle. She has made her mark in business, having worked for and successfully operated her own businesses. Various organs of State and the private sector are also deriving benefits of her extensive education qualifications and experience through her membership of their Boards. Social consciousness is ever present in all that she does and this is reflected in her affiliation to or support for non-governmental organisations that are working in the fields of education, addressing spatial challenges, social cohesion and empowerment.
She is now studying towards her third Master’s Degree after initially completing a Masters in Business Administration and Masters in International Business. Her third Masters, in Law, is being done through the University of London. It deals extensively with international law topics, women’s rights and equality, among others.
How did this illustrious career begin? She studied at the University of Zululand towards a Bachelor of Science degree (Hydrology). Midway through studies her funds were depleted and the choice was either leaving studies or applying for a bursary. She chose the latter, and it was not an easy task. It took numerous unsuccessful applications for bursaries – and an eagle-eyed professor – before she was able to secure funding for studies.
The then-Department of Water and Forestry had advertised bursaries in local newspapers and the professor brought this to Ms Mathenjwa’s attention. She was employed by the Department of Water and Forestry after completion of her studies, first as an assistant pollution control officer, later Assistant Director of Catchment Management and also a water scientist.
Changing jobs was full of difficulties and she had made numerous applications, of which some were unsuccessful. Graduation from academic studies was followed by graduation in various leadership positions, including from being a member of the Board of Umgeni Water to its Chairperson.
Compiled and issued by the Corporate Stakeholder Management Unit, Office of the Chief Executive