Water and Sanitation Minister Gugile Nkwinti on Wednesday welcomed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers to a water and energy summit taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
In his welcome address, Nkwinti said: “It has become critically clear that our region requires industrial development underpinned by solid infrastructure. The recent drought has exposed this weakness in the region. Water and energy continue to play a significant role in regional economic growth, and access to [the] same [services] has a direct impact on the quality of the lives of our people. Energy and water are fundamental enablers to economic development, which SADC has placed at the forefront.”
He added the meeting was important, as it provided an opportunity to assess progress in the implementation of the sectoral programmes and chart a way forward.
“It is my honour and pleasure to welcome you all to the joint SADC meeting of ministers responsible for water and energy. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to you all for honouring the SADC and South Africa’s invitation to this important meeting, which provides all of us an opportunity to assess progress in the implementation of our sectoral programmes and chart a way forward,” Nkwinti said, adding that at SADC regional level, the revised protocol on shared watercourses remained a fundamental framework to facilitate coordination and integrated planning between the water and energy sectors in the implementation of development programmes.
“Through the protocol, the region has sought to maximise the attributes of shared water management while minimising the potential for competition or conflict over resources. As a ministry responsible for water and sanitation in South Africa, we have been practising the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach for some time now. This requires engagement with other sectors which have a bearing on what we do in the sector,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town on Tuesday reported dam levels had increased by 4.6% to 42.7% of storage capacity as a result of the rainfall received in recent days, especially in the catchment areas.