In March, 2018, WASCO kick started meetings with water committees across all service centres. The main purpose of these meetings was to reflect on the achievements and challenges of each committee in the three years that they had been established. Another objective was to keep members informed of all developments planned by the water utility in terms of improving urban water supply and sewerage services.
It was during these meetings that most committee members revealed that WASCO still need to improve communication with stakeholders regarding service disruptions even though the Qacha’snek, Semonkong and some other committees indicated that there is a big improvement in this regard. It was generally recommended that the utility expand channels of communication to include social media such as whatsApp groups, text messaging and a variety of broadcasters to cater for the needs and interests of a variety of stakeholders. In addition, WASCO center managers were reminded to keep District Administrators (DA) fully informed of water supply status at all times in an effort to improve communication with major stakeholders within towns.
The District Administrator for Quthing, Mr. Mothibeli Sehlabo hailed the strides made by the water committee and expressed his unwavering support in ensuring that it undertakes its responsibilities without a hitch. The DA for Qacha’snek shared the same sentiments and affirmed his commitment in working with relevant departments in ensuring that the challenge of sewage flooding and other challenges will be a thing of the past. Speaking on behalf of the DA at a meeting in TY Mrs. ‘Maatlehang Makhotsa also indicated that the DA’s office would be in full support of the committee’s plans especially efforts to improve customer education on billing and efficient use of water.
Despite the challenges of communication and lack of resources, the committees have had major milestones in their term especially regarding reporting of bursts and leakages.
In his report on the achievements of the Peka water committee, the Chairperson Mr. Khasane Ramabaleha indicated that they have managed to report incidents of bursts and leakages and in return, WASCO has improved response time to minimise service disruptions in Peka and commended employees for their efforts in providing information regarding incidents of water supply disruption. He indicated that the challenge remains that of pipes that are overly exposed and vulnerable to bursts and leakages.
Mapoteng water committee also boasts some major milestones and the Chairperson, Mrs. ‘Maisaka Monyolo did not mince words in indicating that they had to endure a lot in this voluntary work, but their commitment and desire for improving the lives of people of Mapoteng kept them focused on their responsibilities. She explained that, they collaborated well with the Area Manager and other staff members in decreasing water losses, by reporting bursts. Since the establishment of the committee, WASCO’s response time regarding bursts has improved notably.
It is expected that new committees will be elected from September, 2018. These committees are representative of a variety of WASCO stakeholders such as customers, Chiefs, Urban councils, NGO’s, government departments and businesses.