PIONEERING: The site where the first Kusini Water Cape Town Desalination Plant will be installed at the V&A Waterfront. Inset is Murendeni Mafumo, founder of Kusini Water. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Entrepreneur Murendeni Mafumo is in full flight after getting his “wings” from a Redbull competition and is making a difference to underserved and rural communities who often don’t have access to clean drinking water.

Mafumo, a scientist and founder of Kusini Water, launched the firm’s first solar-powered desalination plant in Cape Town on Tuesday, set to be operational this year.

Kusini Water is a locally-designed solar-powered water purification system that uses an activated carbon filter made from local macadamia nut shells.

The Cape Town plant, to be built on the Granger Bay side of the V&A Waterfront, will be capable of producing 4000 litres of fresh water an hour, enough for more than 4800 households a day.

Mafumo, was one of 16 social entrepreneurs who participated in the Red Bull Amaphiko (“wings” in isiXhosa) Academy last year, designed to “give wings” to grassroots social entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in their communities.

Mafumo said the aim of Kusini Water was to bring about a systemic change in communities underserved in water and sanitation.

He has launched a number of Kusini Water purification plants to help deliver clean water to rural communities and to reduce reliance on municipal water.

The first Kusini Water system was launched nearly two-years ago in Shayandima, Limpopo, and the firm’s first mobile container, launched in October last year, is supplying water for the community of Extension 10 in eMalahlani West.

The Cape Town plant, however, will be the first on this large a scale, and the desalination plant will use seawater from offshore marine waters and discharge concentrated brine effluent through pipelines.

Mafumo said he was not at liberty to disclose how much the plant would cost to install, saying it would create full-time employment for about three people, set to get off the ground in September and be fully operational by the end of October.

Kusini Water’s system can treat water from any source, removing more than 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses.

PIONEERING: Inset is Murendeni Mafumo, founder of Kusini Water. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

It could produce 40 times more water than reverse osmosis, the current best practice, and uses about half the energy.

The launch of Kusini Water’s new Cape Town plant forms part of a programme that will assist the City of Cape Town’s low-income communities.

The water will be sold to households in affluent areas and for every litre bought, 20 litres will be given to communities in the Cape Flats.

Mafumo said profits from this plant would go towards the construction and operation of a future plant planned for the Cape Flats that would provide advanced Kusini Water treatment systems and water recovery for gardening and toilet flushing.

Mafumo said Kusini Water operated on a social franchise model through which he aimed to build a network of locally-owned franchise water businesses.

“Kusini Water follows a shared-value approach that aims to reconnect companies’ success with social progress,” said Mafumo.

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Cape Argus