Massive job cuts are looming at the debt-ridden State Owned Enterprise, Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) as a result of the ongoing restructuring process aimed to transform the cash strapped water corporation into full profitability.
WUC Chief Executive Officer, Mmetla Masire has hinted of another looming job loss in the parastatal enterprise following over 100 staff layoff by another parastatal, Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) last year.
Prior to the revelations by Masire, it has been alleged that WUC executive board has been under pressure from the parent ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services to implement sweeping changes to deliver a profitable WUC.
The corporation has been running with losses as it is currently grappling with over P 700 million debts hence prompting the corporation to maximize efficiency costs embarking on restructuring.
Briefing the media on Monday, Masire said the shakeup exercise dubbed “Itemogo’’ will impact hard on some of the employees who will lose their jobs upon completion of the reshuffle.
“Let me emphasise that the current restructuring has been designed and approved by the board. It also covers the executive leadership of the corporation including myself and the corporation has since advertised with the local media newspapers some posts that the exercise affects,” he charged.
Masire further said the job fit assessment report has also been approved by the board while recruitment for executive level positions is underway.
Quizzed on how many job losses will be incurred, being economical with information he said he not in good position to divulge the figures adding that the placement process is on in some positions and departments.
“Yes we are in the restructuring process which of course will lead to some employees losing their jobs. Members of staff that will be affected by the exercise will be notified as well and Counseling is also underway for employees and the entire project is expected to be finished by end of this year,” he added.
In addition, he charged that the union representing WUC employees have been also involved in consultations over the imminent anticipated job cuts.
P850 m debt
The corporation has been running under loss struggling currently facing P 850 million arrears, with defaulters including domestic clients, the government and business community.
Masire when quizzed on the debt outcomes said the corporation is immensely feeling the pressure of the debt saying that WUC is unable to fully execute its projects due to monetary cash flow crises.
“We are still battling with this enormous debt which in many ways makes it difficult for carrying our operations. There is some of WUC infrastructure that is in poor state adding to the ugly water shortage problems. Some of the boreholes need fixation but it is difficult because of the losses we working under,’’ equipped Masire.
The Assistant Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Itumeleng Moipisi last year also informed the parliament that WUC is owed over P 850 million which is difficult to recover.
Masire said through debt collection strategies in the past financial year, WUC made some strides in debts collection and the organization performed well financially.
NSC II controversy
Interrogated on the controversy marred North South Water (NSC) Carrier Scheme tender and the alleged interference by DISS on the project process, Masire said the DISS has no room in the NSC tender.
He said WUC does not with any government agents such as DISS and Office of the president on the NSC as per some media reports, noting that the NSC project is an affair between WUC and Project Management Officers (PMO) from Ministry of Lands.
Water shortage crisis
Sustainability and Water Resources Director at WUC, Gaselemogwe Senai said the current water shortage catastrophe threatens to worsen due to water decline in major ground water suppliers mainly dams.
He equipped that the water level in dams such as Bokaa, Molatedi dams, the Chobe and Okavango rivers respectively has yielded in significant water shortage across the country at the moment.
Senai singled out places such as Molepolole, Kanye, Maun and the some part of the greater Gaborone as hardly tormented by the dire situation pointing out that the NSC connection will extend to the places to improve water supply.
WUC CEO Mmetla Masire has conceded that although the North South Carrier operation has been going well, water shortage situation still remains heating hard most the Southern part of the country.
From the NSC, Masire indicate that WUC opt to increase water supply availability from 60 to 120 million liters towards the greater Gaborone area.
He also singled power outages as the rival challenge affecting on regular basis pump stations that directs water to areas such as Molepolole which is one of the most affected by water calamity.