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Published on: 06/03/2012

Dudu Mnisi, an engineer of one of the regional offices of Mvula Trust in South Africa interviewed Mr J. Makgoka, chairperson of the Village Water Committee of Mohlajeng in the Republic of South Africa.

Dudu Mnisi (DM): What is it about your community that allows you to manage your scheme in a sustainable manner?

J. Makgoka (JM): We work in a collective manner in this community. There is a spirit of togetherness and Mvula Trust told us at the official opening that the scheme belongs to us. It is our responsibility to take care of it. For instance there is a need for yard connections in the village, but Mvula has explained to us that if people want a higher level of service, a thorough investigation should be done on the availability of enough water and on the cost and management implications of yard connections. So those issues have been discussed with the community and we now wait for a reply from Mvula.

DM: How do you collect and spend your tariffs?

JM: The Tribal Authority plays an important role in the community. People pay the Moshate (Tribal Authority). We have agreed as a community to pay R. 20-00 per annum per household.

DM: Do you think the R. 20-00 per annum is enough to carry out all the necessary operation and maintenance works?

JM: I can say yes and no. Yes, because we are able to buy diesel in bulk once per year. We have negotiated with the Northern Oils whereby they have given us a big tank which carries 2,210 litres of diesel. No, because there are some who don’t pay for their service and this affects our saving account. We are unable to save for major breakdowns.

DM: But how do you maintain that spirit of togetherness while others seem not to contribute to the sustainability of your scheme?

JM: We are not a big community and we respect our Tribal Authority. Once someone is called by the Tribal Authority to account for non-payment of the service, they respond positively.

DM: What would you say to other communities that are fractured by politics or personal ambition?

JM: My advice is let us do things for our own communities. No one can bring development to you unless you make development happen in your area. Secondly, be prepared to volunteer your services. There are many challenges in community based management like no wages for the Village Water Committee (VWC). It will take time for communities to understand that they need to thank the VWC for the service rendered.

DM: How long will you be able to volunteer your services to this project?

JM: I was born in this village, so I feel responsible to assist the people for as long as I am able. Secondly, I cannot imagine our community without water because water is life.

Dudu Mnisi

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