Finweek English Edition: 16 Jul 2015

Infrastructure in SA, while not archaic, has not been attended to adequately and requires a vast amount of rehabilitation. A full audit of the infrastructure, which includes the identifying of water leakage, has never been undertaken.

Water leakage in Rustenburg alone is 40%, Rudy Roberts, CEO of The Mega Water Corporation (MWC) tells Finweek. That alone is a quantum amount not only in the loss and wastage of valuable water but in rand value.

It is one such problem that MWC, launched last year as an integrated water utility enterprise, aims to tackle.

“Mega Water is a strategic lever to assist advancing our industrialisation in South Africa, to be a supportive partner to government in the challenges that South Africa faces. South Africa does not have an integrated industrial solution. Mega Water will be a one-stop industrial solution that mirrors many of the global companies,” says Roberts.

Government has a water plan in place but is challenged by the pressures of implementation and delivery of water services. “Government doesn’t have all the skills and is also constrained by budget and revenue,” he explains.

The cost required to maintain and fund new water infrastructure in SA is $7.1bn (R88.3bn) per year. Of this, the department of water affairs (DWA) is able to fund just $4.1bn (R51.2bn).

This is the reason partnerships and investment can play such a pivotal role, Roberts says. Accretive opportunities for MWC lie in water treatment, wastewater treatment, maintenance, skills development and the provision of rural infrastructure.

In partnership with Danish water utilities business Grundfos, which provides MWC with what Roberts terms the “membrane” to develop their platform, MWC has provided rehabilitated borehole water to Naledi Trust in the Free State and is drilling 50 boreholes in the Bloemfontein area to supply clean, potable running water.

The company has also acquired a water engineering company at a cost of more than R40m. “This transaction is the first pillar that will allow MWC to start a water services business,” says Roberts.

That includes assisting municipalities with their Blue Drop Programme, the DWA’s drinking quality management programme that requires water service authorities to comply with 95% of weighted criteria to achieve Blue Drop Status.

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