STATEMENT: Shaft Pump Failure at Durban Heights Water Works

STATEMENT: Shaft Pump Failure at Durban Heights Water Works

STATEMENT: Shaft Pump Failure at Durban Heights Water Works

Statement from the Board of Umgeni Water on Actions Instituted and Progress to Date

Monday, 29th November 2021

The Board of Umgeni Water has initiated various actions, some in conjunction with eThekwini Water and Sanitation, that are aimed at accelerating processes to bring relief to consumers affected by water shortages caused by failure of Pump 1 at Umgeni Water’s Durban Heights Water Works. This shaft pump conveys raw water to the Durban Heights Water Works; its failure has resulted in reduced volumes of raw water reaching the plant and decrease in potable water production.

The full Board of Umgeni Water has taken leadership in Umgeni Water’s efforts to minimise the impact of below-normal volumes of potable water that are being supplied to eThekwini Water and Sanitation from the Durban Heights Water Works since malfunction of the shaft pump on 11th November 2021.

The Board of Umgeni Water has already held a series of meetings to examine strategies that will strengthen the resolve of Umgeni Water’s Operations Division to augment raw water resources to the plant and, at the same time, strategically manage outflows so that the customers of eThekwini Water and Sanitation are able to receive some water daily.

The most recent of these meetings was held on the night of Saturday, 27th November 2021. It was resolved at this meeting that in order to provide additional capacity and support to the Operations Division and strengthen its functionality, the current Acting Chief Executive, Mr Sandile Bonga Dube, will return as Executive: Operations with immediate effect. Mr Dube was Executive: Operations at the time of his secondment as Acting Chief Executive.

At the Operations Division, Mr Dube will give added impetus, through his leadership skills, to initiatives aimed at ensuring that maintenance, repair and refurbishment of ancillary infrastructure at the Durban Heights Water Works are carried out without further delay. These actions, together with refurbishment of Pump 1, will restore Durban Heights Water Works to full operational capacity.

Mr Dube will be replaced by Mr Mboniseni Dlamini, who is Managing Director of Umgeni Water subsidiary Msinsi Holdings SOC Ltd. Mr Dlamini has vast experience in the water sector, having previously worked at Umgeni Water as General Manager: Operations before joining Magalies Water as Chief Executive. He joined Msinsi Holdings SOC Ltd in 2017. Mr Dlamini will serve as Acting Executive of Umgeni Water until a permanent Chief Executive is appointed.

The Board also wishes to assure stakeholders that the process for filling vacant Executive positions at Umgeni Water, that of Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer as well as Company Secretary, is expected to be finalised early in the new year.

As a reflection of the intensity with which the Board regards the failure of Pump 1 and its consequences, three other meetings of the Board dealt with this matter. The meetings were held on Sunday, 21st  November 2021, followed by a full Board meeting on Wednesday, 24th November 2021. A visit to Durban Heights Water Works by members of the Capex Committee took place separately to inspect Reservoir 3 and the aftermath of the failure of Pump 1.

The Board continues to be briefed on a regular basis about progress towards refurbishment of Pump 1, which was dismantled and taken to the workshop of the contractor appointed to conduct the work. The Board is pleased that the contractor is on schedule to complete the work as per timelines given.

Issued on behalf of the Board of Umgeni Water by the Corporate Stakeholder Management Unit., Office of the Chief Executive, Umgeni Water