Through her major in Water Management, Dimakatso Manzini hopes to contribute to those solutions
‘I always wanted to study something in Water Management. Water is my passion and I have made a decision to remain in the water sector so this came at the right time for me. I am going to learn new and relevant techniques to address water related issues we have.’
South African Dimakatso Manzini is a 35-year old single mother to two “most beautiful kids” (an 11-year old son and 6-year old daughter) who is one of the two (first ever!) students awarded the MA-CoFin scholarship through EP-Nuffic. She started her MBA with a Major in Water Management in September this year.
“My career started in 2002, when I was working for PriceWaterhouseCoopers as an Internal Auditor. I grew in that position and became the Senior Internal Auditor. I then joined SAB&T in 2006 as the Internal Audit Manager. In 2008, I was given an opportunity to establish the Internal Audit Unit in Sekhukhune District Municipality, where I was Chief Audit Executive until August 2009, when I had to come back to Polokwane and joined Lepelle Northern Water as the Chief Audit Executive” mentions Dimakatso.
To-date, I am still in this position. I continued assisting Sekhukhune District Municipality as I served there as their Audit Committee member and also as the Risk Management Chairperson. I am also qualified as a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Government Audit Professional (CGAP).
You are one of the two (first ever!) students awarded the MA-CoFin scholarship through EP-Nuffic. How does that make you feel?
‘‘I couldn’t believe it when I first received the news. I feel so grateful and humbled. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. This inspires me every day to do more on my quest for being a better person, a better leader and contribute to the solutions that we need in our country with regard to water issues.’’
How important is it to share and promote knowledge and awareness of water management in South Africa, Sub-Saharan countries and the rest of the world?
“It’s extremely important! Water resources have no boundaries and how they are managed in one country affect the country below. There is never enough water, and unless stringent water conservation measures are put in place, South Africa and other Sub-Saharan countries can run dry. South Africa is one of the 30 countries identified as ‘water stressed’ and requires that water demand management strategies should be prioritised and funded.”
What is the biggest challenge South Africa faces currently in the context of water management?
“There are a few:
- Ageing infrastructure that leads to high water losses. The old town asbestos pipelines are still in use, which besides being old, pose a health risk to people;
- South Africa is a semi-arid region that is characterised by the unbalanced rain patterns that are skewed to drought meaning that the country cannot afford – see the aforementioned point;
- Deterioration of the raw water quality due to pollution leading to high treatment costs which has a negative impact to the communities as a result of high tariffs;
- Inadequate technical skills in the water sector and its competition with the mining industries when it comes to artisans and engineers;
- Non- payment of services by customers;
- Low rainfall/ High temperatures resulting in high evaporation.
What does your company Lepelle Northern Water focus on?
“Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) is a Water Board created through Water Services Act No. 108 of 1997 with primary mandate of providing bulk water services to other institutions such as municipalities and industries. We operate in the Limpopo Province, which is mostly a rural area. We have gained knowledge in providing rural-based customers and urban customers with sustainable water services. Moreover, LNW has concluded bulk water services contracts with municipalities having status of being Water Services Authorities.”
What do you and LNW hope to achieve in order to face current day challenges?
“LNW plans to cover the whole area with sustainable water supply and also has plans to use alternative water sources such as ground/borehole water since the surface water is not enough. We want to work closely with municipalities to make plans with them to unlock development. Since there is severe drought in South Africa, through this programme, I wish to learn how other countries are handling this, so I can contribute to plans that need to be developed in South Africa.”
How do you find the MBA programme so far?
“It is both exciting and challenging at the same time. One needs to really be self-disciplined as there is a lot of self-study and time frames are quite tight. However, I must say that the programme is offering more than I expected.”
What has been the greatest insight so far?
“Action Learning! I was only familiar with two learning approaches: Knowledge Acquisition and Applied Learning. Never was I exposed to the Action Learning approach before and it seems to be the best of them all.”
Which skills do you hope to improve during the programme?
“There are many, for instance new management skills and techniques; strategic thinking and critical analysis skills, soft skills, personal growth and to be able to expand my professional network. Also, I would like to gain a holistic view of management and business in the water industry, next to, of course, enhancing my skills in water management.”
What do you look forward to most?
“To meeting and learning from candidates from other regions, countries and companies. I believe this will help sharpen my global vision and my ability to bring fresh, new perspectives to my workplace.”
For more information on our Action Learning MBA and Management Programmes, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.