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New chief plans to turn Lepelle water board around

Newly appointed Lepelle Northern Water board chairperson Dr Ndweleni Mphephu. Picture: Supplied

Newly appointed Lepelle Northern Water board chairperson Dr Ndweleni Mphephu. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 16, 2021


Pretoria - The newly appointed Lepelle Northern Water board chairperson has vowed to to steer the embattled water utility in the right direction.

Dr Ndweleni Mphephu, 44, was appointed with other board members to head the water utility a little over a week ago.

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The parastatal has been tainted by allegations of fraud and corruption in recent years, with the failure of the Giyani bulk water scheme and the resignation of its former chief executive, Phineas Legodi, who was accused of fraud and corruption relating to the awarding of a multimillion-rand waste management contract.

“I am humbled to have been tasked with the position of chairperson of the board, and I consider it a great honour to be serving in the new capacity alongside a diverse collective equipped with the necessary qualities and abilities to meet our mandate.”

Mphephu, who hails from Mulenzhe outside Thohoyandou, holds a Bachelors and Honours degrees in environmental science from the University of Venda.

He followed that up with an MSc and PhD at Wits. In addition, he has also graduated with an MBA from Wits Business School.

Mphephu has been part of the interim board of LNW, and he vows to bring to the board leadership and technical skills.

“The new board will be required to steer an organisation that has been tasked with the noble responsibility of delivering water to the people of Limpopo.”

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The board will be meeting for the first time on Wednesday for induction and to be presented with a hand-over from the interim board.

The R3 billion Giyani bulk water project was meant to provide clean running water into the taps of 55 villages in Giyani in the Mopani district of Limpopo, by building a 320km pipeline that would access water from the Nandoni dam to connect with the villages, but the project stalled with allegations of corruption.

Legodi is being accused of fraud and corruption concerning the awarding of the multimillion-rand waste management contract.

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It’s believed that LNW awarded a contract to a third party to work on the project irregularly while Legodi was in charge.

He has since resigned from his position as chief executive of the Lepelle Northern Water.

The case continues, while Legodi is currently out on bail.

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Mphephu said the filling of critical positions was a priority.

“Filling critical positions is key for any organisation to be stable and well-functioning. The new board will be looking into all vacant critical and funded positions and will ensure that those positions are filled within a reasonable time frame, the position of the chief executive included.”

Pretoria News

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Water and Sanitation