Newly-appointed Amatola Water chief executive officer, Vuyo Zitumane, who took up office on 3 April, says improving stakeholder relationships, which include employee and customer engagement, are amongst her top priorities in the short term.
Zitumane, who has an impressive track-record of accomplishments in the public sector, joins the organisation at a time when its turnaround plan, endorsed by the Department of Water and Sanitation, is underway.
Zitumane explains that the turnaround plan, which will be implemented over the next five years, forms the foundation for the future direction of Amatola Water and is set to enhance organisational sustainability, improve bulk water services provision and reinvent the organisation towards becoming a regional water utility in the Eastern Cape.
As part of the plan, Amatola Water will focus on four key areas: Improving the water utility’s financial viability and bulk water services (primary), improving Amatola Water’s performance as an implementing agent for water infrastructure (secondary business) and reconnecting with stakeholders.
Among her key priorities, Zitumane will champion research on innovative mechanisms to mitigate the acute drought and water shortage in parts of the province, enhance the utility’s internal project management capacity and capability, as well as ensure the advancement of transformation in the water sector.
“Whilst we will not compromise on quality, we will be very robust when it comes to advancing transformation efforts, particularly at the consulting and contractor level.”
“The newly published BBBEE regulations have to find expression in our supply chain policy in order to ensure that there is equitable distribution of opportunities across the board,” she adds.
Zitumane has hit the ground running. Already she has met with the board and staff at Amatola Water’s East London head office. These meetings are to be followed by visits to the remaining 400 employees at eight other sites across the province later this week.
“These engagements are the first step in creating a committed workforce and the conducive working environment necessary for rebuilding the required internal competency and stakeholder trust,” she explains.
She also plans to visit other key stakeholders in the next month.
Zitumane is also to visit the Amatola Water-implemented priority projects of Nooitgedacht in the Nelson Mandela Bay region, the multi-million rand King Sabata Dalindyebo Presidential Intervention in Mthatha and some of the Department of Education 132 school infrastructure upgrades.
“The Amatola Water team is aware that water as a resource, its security as well as access to water is important not only to the business but also to nation-building. Our team understands their role and is committed to delivering on our mandate,” ends Zitumane.