DURBAN – The South African Department of Water and Sanitation  held its annual National Youth Indaba to empower young minds.

The week-long Water and Sanitation Youth Indaba held at Durban’s ICC came to an end on 30 June, leaving behind a ripple effect of inspiration and a united front dedicated to address water challenges faced by the nation.  The Indaba is part of the Department’s Youth Month commemoration and, together with its co-hosts, Umgeni and Mhlathuze Water, aimed to highlight available opportunities for youth development and educate the youth about their role within the water and sanitation sector.

With the optimistic theme, “Accelerating Youth Economic Emancipation for a Sustainable Future”, this event brought together young leaders and experts in the field of water management from different sectors to brainstorm, share innovative ideas, and discuss critical issues  pertaining to water and sanitation.  Participants, aged between 18 and 35, represented a wide array of organisations, including government bodies, academic institutions, NGOs, and community-based initiatives.  This diversity ensured an inclusive and comprehensive approach towards water management, taking into account the unique circumstances faced by different communities in South Africa.

Photo: Minister of Water and Sanitation, Mr Senzo Mchunu.

The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Mr Senzo Mchunu, implored the youth to not only be empowered but to have an outcome that will impact the water sector at the end of this Indaba.   “It is my wish that after all the commissions and the discussions taking place here, you will emerge better positioned to be able to work with us as the Department of Water and Sanitation to achieve our objectives”,  said Minister Mchunu.  The minister was accompanied by his deputies, Ms Judith Tshabalala and Mr David Mahlobo, eThekwini Executive Mayor, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda and Umgeni Water Acting Chief Executive, Dr Sipho Mañana.

Throughout the week-long program, the young professionals engaged in interactive sessions and knowledge sharing in their respective fields as well as excursions aimed to deepen their understanding and to also provide them with practical experiences.  With the launch of the

Water Professionals Network, a sector-wide youth forum has been established that will contribute to the water and sanitation challenges of the country.   The Department of Water and Sanitation and various stakeholders announced career opportunities to the youth, encouraging them to pave the way forward.

The success of the Youth Indaba sets an optimistic tone for the future, as young leaders emerge as change agents in ensuring water security and improved sanitation for all in the province.  Deputy Minister Judith Tshabalalaconcluded with a collective call to action, urging participants to continue their efforts beyond the conference.  “We firmly believe that by actively involving young people in the planning and execution of sector activities, we can enhance service delivery to our communities and pave the way for a sustainable future. Therefore, this Indaba should provide you with a platform for discussions, constructive idea generation that will address the challenges facing the youth in the sector, empowering them to take on leadership roles”, said the Deputy Minister of DWS at the concluding Gala Dinner.

Photo: Networking Gala Dinner with DM David Mahlobo and DM Judith Tshabalala

Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority  (TCTA) is a state-owned entity charged with financing and implementing bulk raw water infrastructure projects. Information about internships and bursaries are available on their website:

Photo: Safe Cities networking with representatives from Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority

Msinsi Holdings is tasked with managing the water resources around Umgeni Water owned or managed dams. A water resource as defined by the SA National Water Resources Strategy includes dams as well as the areas surrounding dams, and especially their surface water, wetlands, rivers and other water.  Website:

Photo: Safe Cities networking with representatives of Msinsi Hazelmere Dam and Inanda Dam.

Rand Water is a South African water utility that supplies potable water to the Gauteng province and other areas of the country and is the largest water utility in Africa.  Information about internships and bursaries are available on their website:

Photo: Safe Cities networking with representatives of Randwater.


Zoé Pillay – Global Innovation!