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Women’s economic empowerment opportunities in the water sector revived

Water and Sanitation deputy minister David Mahlobo (black suit), handed over a canoe trailer to Umsinsi members at a women’s month celebration in Umshwathi. Picture: Supplied

Water and Sanitation deputy minister David Mahlobo (black suit), handed over a canoe trailer to Umsinsi members at a women’s month celebration in Umshwathi. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 31, 2023


Durban – Hundreds of women from the Thokozani community in Umshwathi, under uMgungundlovu District Municipality, have had their hopes of meaningfully participating in economic opportunities available in the water sector revived.

This follows announcements by the two Deputy Ministers for Water and Sanitation, David Mahlobo and Judith Tshabalala at a women’s month event in the area, that plans were afoot to assist women cooperatives to participate in water resource management initiatives.

The deputy ministers said that there were plans to train local women cooperatives in all facets of environmental and water resource management and tourism.

Msinsi managing director, Mbali Ndlovu said that her organisation would continue to balance the imperatives of water resource management, and ensure that it acted as a good corporate citizen by assisting nearby communities.

“As Msinsi Holdings we are very proud to partner with Umngeni-UThukela water, and the Department of Water and Sanitation to ensure that we render water that is of the highest quality, in a sustainable manner.

“Moreover, we regard the issue of socio-economic empowerment, particularly around those communities that reside in the vicinity of our operations as being central to all that we do.

“It is for this reason that we continue to champion programmes throughout KwaZulu-Natal that benefit local communities," Ndlovu said.

Deputy Minister for Water and Sanitation Judith Tshabalala praised the efforts of Msinsi Holdings to empower women.

“We remain advocates for the empowerment of women, not only in the month of August, but throughout the year. Our message to Msinsi and Umngeni-UThukela is that they must continue to champion programmes that give women opportunities to actively participate in the economy.”

Addressing the community of Thokozani, Tshabalala said there were ample opportunities to develop the local economy and stimulate job creation in the area.

“The community of Thokozani is located in the vicinity of the Albert Falls Dam, which also includes a resort managed by Msinsi Holdings, a subsidiary of Umngeni-UThukela Water.

“As the Department of Water and Sanitation we have instructed the management of Msinsi Holdings to ensure that, in its programmes, it involves local women cooperatives in water management and tourism activities so that they benefit from its presence in the area,” Tshabalala added.

In a demonstration of this goal of local economic participation, the deputy ministers handed over a canoe trailer to the Thulani Mbanjwa Academy, which runs a youth water training academy in the dam.

This is in addition to ten canoes and paddles that the foundation had also received from Msinsi Holdings.

“While this foundation is already doing amazing work in terms of promoting water safety among locals, we now want to ensure that they graduate to hosting tourists in their canoes in order to boost job creation,” concluded Tshabalala.

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