Managing Water Resources in Developing Countries: South Africa As An Example for Policy And Regulation - page 07



The two main acts are:

National Water Act, No. 36 of 1998: The objective of the Act is to ensure that South Africa's water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner, for the benefit of all persons. The Act provides that the National Government, as the public trustee of the nation's water resources and acting through the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, has the power to regulate the use, flow and control of all water in the Republic.

Water Services Act, No. 108 of 1997: The objective of the Act is to provide for the rights of access to basic water supply and basic sanitation by setting national standards and norms. Section 156 vests the executive authority and responsibility to support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their functions to the state. The state also has the authority to see to the effective performance by municipalities of their functions, by regulating the exercise by municipalities of their executive authority. The Water Services Act gives substance to constitutional requirements.

According to the above acts, the Department of Water Affairs is the leader of the water sector. It currently performs both implementation and regulatory functions. Its focus is increasingly on policy development, macro planning, regulation, sector leadership, oversight and monitoring.

A substantial number of its current implementation functions are being transferred to other institutions within the sectors. The sectors' players have an important role to play in meeting the sectoral targets, with the Department of Water Affairs playing a leadership and regulatory role to ensure that Government objectives are met.

There are many different players in water resources protection and management and the provision of water and sanitation services in SA (Table 3). The water sector does not have a distinct or independent regulator. Figure 4 illustrates the linkages between the institutions that are major role players in the water sector.

A key characteristic of the sector is the diversity of WSPs in terms of both scale and type: a water services provider could serve one small rural community, one or more towns, a large metropolitan area or a whole region; it might be a community based organization, a local municipality, a district municipality, a public utility (owned by local and/or national government), or a private organization. The sector is further characterised by public ownership and control (at the national and municipal level) and limited participation by private companies. Where there is private participation, the ownership of the water services assets has remained in public hands (Storer and Teljeur, 2003).

In this setting, ministerial discretion is high, although actual involvement is low as the Department of Water Affairs, which reports directly to the Minister, is both the sector policy maker and a regulator.


Figure 4: Water Sector Institutions in South Africa and the nature of their relations and interactions (after DWAF, 2004).

Figure 4: Water Sector Institutions in South Africa and the nature of their relations and interactions (after DWAF, 2004).