9:00-9:30 Plans for SA water skills? – an extension of the NSTF Discussion Forum on ‘Skills drought in the water sector’

Mr Lesego Lekubu
Ms Jansie Niehaus

Mr Lesego Lekubu

Lesego is an acting Deputy Director in the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). He is a qualified science professional specialising in the field of water and sanitation sector skills planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. He has been involved in skills development within the sector for almost a decade covering the three spheres of Government i.e. National, Provincial and Local government.

His skills development experience within the water sector covers work on capacitating Water Services Authorities in the Western Cape on the Blue Drop, Green Drop, and Regulatory Performance Management System including the compilation of Water and Sanitation Risk Abatement Plans; and Municipal By-Laws on water and sanitation. At National level, he was involved in the development of the water and sanitation Occupational Framework of Occupations, a skills planning tool for the water sector used to identify new and emerging occupations. He is currently participating in the Framework Programme for Research Education and Training in the Water Sector (FETWater III), developing occupational qualification for the water and sanitations sector including developing implementation plan thereof together with the Water Research Commission (WRC), Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA), Energy Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA). He also acted as the Learner Qualification Development Facilitator for the development of the Water Use Specialist and Sanitation Coordinator Qualifications.

He is also leading the Water and Sanitation Sector Leadership Group Skills Task Team, an intergovernmental structure responsible for coordinating the implementation of skills development in the sector, consisting of multi-stakeholders such as the LGSETA, EWSETA, Water Boards, and Institute of Higher Learning (IHE).

Ms Jansie Niehaus

Ms Jansie Niehaus has been Executive Director of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), since 2006. NSTF is a Non Profit Company and stakeholder forum for science, engineering and technology (SET). Projects include: discussion forums for stakeholders on current Government policy issues; the annual NSTF Awards for scientists and other professionals; and youth outreach projects.

Jansie worked at DST for 3 years, where she was responsible for coordinating and establishing Informatics learnerships for young science graduates. She worked as an Education Consultant, provided teacher in-service training, wrote learning and teaching materials and conducted courses for teachers, after having taught Mathematics for 5 years to Grades 7 to 12 learners, and first year university students. She trained with and briefly worked for the Freudenthal Institute in The Netherlands, which does national mathematics curriculum development and research. She worked as research assistant and project manager for a curriculum development project at University of the Western Cape (UWC). Jansie holds a Bachelor of Education (B Ed) degree, and Bachelors degree majoring in Mathematics and Psychology. She studied various other subjects at university level for another four years, including Economics, African Politics, English (Literature) and Mathematical Statistics, while being a political prisoner from 1983 to 1987.

The South African water and sanitation legal framework has received positive reviews locally and internationally as being progressive in addressing the national transformation goals. However, the effective and efficient implementation thereof has being hampered by inter alia the incorrect identification of required competencies and skills sets both at an individual and organisational level. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) as the sector leader commissioned “The Water Sector Skills Gap Analysis” project in 2014 in order to evaluate the quantitative and qualitative supply of capacity and skills respectively within the sector focusing on local government. Indeed, as described in the report, various organisations are involved in the delivery of skills and capacity within the water sector with limited coordination.

Subsequently, the DWS commissioned the Water and Sanitation Occupational Framework project in 2016, to identify occupations within the sector including specialisations and further register them on the National Occupational Framework of Occupations (OFO). A suite of specialist occupations were identified and endorsed by the sector. Concurrent to the OFO project, DWS together with the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) and the Energy, Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) have developed occupational qualifications through the Framework Programme for Research, Education and Training in the Water Sector (FETWater) as a skills delivery model.

Building on the National Water Resources Strategy II (NWRS 2) Chapter 15, Skills and Capacity Building Implementation Plan, the DWS, LGSETA, EWSETA and other sector role players are ready to present an implementation plan for the future water and sanitation occupational qualifications to support the implementation of the water and sanitation legal framework.