Waterboard uses CAPEX programme to accelerate water sector skills development

Magalies Water launched the pilot of the innovative Magalies Water Capacity Building Programme. The programme is designed to address the need for skilled and employable students. The students were drawn from the following fields: engineering, technicians, technologists, artisans, scientists, process controllers, and plant operators, amongst others.

Magalies Water provides water services in the following Provinces: North West, Limpopo and Gauteng. New opportunities for accelerated capacity building for students were identified in the organisation’s extensive programme to upgrade existing and develop new water infrastructure to meet growing demand for potable water.

Infrastructure development is has been identified by the Government as a strategic intervention for job creation, skills development and community development.

To this end, Magalies Water has partnered with its professional service providers involved in the implementation of its Capex programme and selected Tertiary institutions to provide practical on the job training to the selected students. The following three Tertiary institutions were selected by Magalies Water to build strategic partnerships with to commence with the programme: Orbit Further Education and Training in Brits (artisan level), Tshwane University of Technology (technician, technologist level) and the University of Pretoria (engineer level). The students were selected after a rigorous selection process was followed in their recruitment.

In addition to technical in-service training that the interns/students will receive, the programme draws on international mentoring best practices to allow for open channels of communication between the interns, their educational institutions, the contractors and professional service providers overseeing the interns and Magalies Water’s operations.

Magalies Water is supported by ONYXX Human Capital and Royal HaskoningDHV in the development and implementation of this unique capacity building programme.

The programme launched in January 2014 at Vaalkop Plant, with seven students who have been offered internships for the 2014 calendar year, comprising four TUT students/graduates and three FET students.

Magalies Water in a nutshell

The water board Magalies Water was established in 1969, mainly to supply the needs of the platinum mines in the Rustenburg and Thabazimbi areas. For this purpose, the Vaalkop Water Treatment Works was constructed next to the Vaalkop Dam with an initial capacity of 18 Mega litres per day (Mℓ/d). Currently the entity’s infrastructure traverses three provinces: the North Wes (Bojanala), Limpopo (Waterberg) and Gauteng (part of Tshwane). The Magalies Water area of supply spans 42 000 square kilometres. Growth in water demand in the area of supply has resulted in the extension of the organisation’s infrastructure and footprint in order to deliver water in bulk to these areas.

Magalies Water currently owns and operates the Vaalkop, Wallmansthal, Klipdrift and Cullinan Water Purification plants. In addition, Magalies Water also operates the Temba Water Purification Plants on behalf of City of Tshwane (CoT)

Infrastructure development

Magalies Water has an extensive infrastructure programme for the upgrading of existing water infrastructure and for the development of new infrastructure. The total capital expenditure is in the order of R2 Billion. Some of the Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) projects are part of the Strategic Integrated Projects coordinated by the Presidency.

Infrastructure development and skills development

Infrastructure development is a catalyst to job creation and skills development. Magalies Water plans to leverage their CAPEX programme to accelerate skills development in the water sector. The general skills that Magalies Water and the broader water sector have identified as a need are engineers, technicians, technologists, artisans, scientists, process controllers, and plant operators among others.

Magalies Water Capacity Building Programme

Magalies Water has recognised the need for capacity building in its own organisation, in the municipalities in their area of supply and in South Africa as a whole. Already before the launch of the Magalies Water Capacity Building Programme, Magalies Water has been taking on interns.