Pretoria - The embattled Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) has finally appointed Dr Cornelius Ruiters as the water utility’s chief executive officer after various people were in an acting capacity for the last two years.
The parastatal has been in limbo since controversial Phineas Legodi, who has been charged with fraud and corruption concerning the awarding of the multimillion-rand waste management contract involving the failed Giyani Water Project, was suspended in 2020 and later resigned.
In recent years, the water utility has been tainted with allegations of fraud and corruption relating to the awarding of a R3 billion Giyani bulk water project that was meant to provide clean running water into the taps of 55 villages in Giyani in the Mopani district of Limpopo.
The project included the building of a 320km pipeline that would get water from the Nandoni dam to connect with the villages, which was stalled with allegations of corruption.
LNW has since tried to steer its ship in the right direction with the appointment of board chairperson Dr Nndweleni Mphephu, who effected Ruiters’s appointment last week.
Mphephu announced that Ruiters assumed office on Friday, citing his extensive experience in the water sector and familiarity with water governance in Limpopo.
“Dr Ruiters boasts a career that spans the academic, government and private sectors at operational, senior and executive management levels,” his statement said.
Mphephu indicated that the appointment was in line with the objective of capacitating LNW and that Ruiters who holds a PhD in natural science and a PhD in civil engineering would contribute immensely to the organisation.
Mphephu added that the LNW board would support the appointment to ensure a new era for LNW.
Ruiters expressed optimism about the task ahead and emphasised the importance of making LNW sustainable and viable.
His focus will be on strengthening governance and taking the organisation forward, engaging stakeholders on their mandates and the role of LNW, executing the constitutional mandate of delivering bulk water to the people of a water-stressed province as well as addressing the challenges related to infrastructure.
He said: “I am excited to have been entrusted with the responsibility as I have worked in Limpopo for an extended period, contributing to the delivery of basic services. LNW has a major role to play in a water-scarce province to help ensure the development of Limpopo in terms of the delivery of water-related services.”