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Chairperson Bloem Water: Tefetso Bernard Phitsane

drinking water to seven (7) of the nine (9) towns of Kopanong Local Municipality. 3. What have been some of your greatest successes, including the winning of awards? The Entity is proud of its flagship project, the Conduit HydroPower Plant that was initiated in partnership with the University of Pretoria, Water Research Commission, Free State Provincial Government and Department of Water and Sanitation. The Plant is situated at Brandkop reservoir that the main building with power supplies, saving costs towards electricity bill. The Entity received numerous awards, to name a few: Diamond Summit Award in 2018 – London, International Water Quality Awards- New York 2017, PMR Africa Awards from 2017 to 2020 respectively. In different categories; Best Water Providing Company in 2017, Good governance Company in 2018 and Best Water Service Provider in 2019 and 2020. The Entity annually bestows Long Service Recognition awards to employees who have reached employment milestones of twenty (20) years or more with Bloem Water. 4. How have you overcome your biggest challenges? Non-payment by municipalities remains the biggest challenge not only

for Bloem Water but water boards in general. This has a huge impact on the Entity’s daily operations to supply water and threatens its ability to meet current and future obligations. Municipalities’ failure to service its debt has resulted in the implementation of water restrictions resulting in water interruptions for communities. However, there have been several engagements with different municipalities and ultimately agreements reached. Several strategies, including strengthening of stakeholder relations, were introduced to take corrective action and pursue legal processes for revenue collection. 5. Please unpack how you ensure a culture of excellence in Bloem Water. Maintaining a conducive organisational culture to ensure that the Board can retain the right skills for effective service delivery is key. A well-designed induction programme has achieved the culture of excellence, offering of attractive working conditions, a conducive organisational culture, market related remuneration, career development through training and development opportunities, performance management with rewards. A staff engagement index is performed regularly to understand how employees think and feel about their

work and to provide them with an opportunity to express themselves regarding different workplace dimensions. Management to set in motion various interventions to address areas requiring attention uses this information. 6. How did Covid impact on Bloem Water? The impact of COVID-19 has inevitably resulted in delays on infrastructure projects, implementation of training during the lockdown period, however, the Entity ensured resource planning and management during the COVID-19 lockdown to ensure uninterrupted water supply 7. What are your plans for 2021? Through its 2021-2026 business plan which is reviewable annually, the Entity commits itself to utilize Key Performance Indicators in line with those of the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to monitor the performance of the Entity and in line with its strategic intent as well as the NDP. Further, in exercising strategic oversight over the Entity and realising the Executive Authority’s objectives, the Board of Directors of Bloem Water, has adopted a set of priorities underpinned by a set of strategic objectives for the period 2021 to 2026.

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Municipal Focus Magazine - Volume 51