An evaluation of the Mvula Trust strategic plan with special reference to its ability to support the water services delivery role of developmental local government in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Buthelezi, Mbongiseni William.
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At the dawn of democracy in South Africa, there were still an estimated 12 million people without adequate water supply services and nearly 21 million people without adequate sanitation services (Strategic Framework for Water Services, 2003). Since then South Africa has made great strides in reducing this gross inequality in water services provision. In response to this evident challenge, the South African Government has developed various key pieces of Local Government legislation which aim to address water services. To speed up water services provision, a number of service delivery strategies and agents were explored. The Mvula Trust is one such agent that was established in 1993 with the sole mandate of supporting the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) to develop affordable and sustainable water services in both rural and peri-urban parts of South Africa. After the establishment of Local Government in year 2000, the Mvula Trust had to enter into a new contract with this tier of government for the continuation of their primary constitutional mandate for water services delivery. In order to respond to the new operational requirement put on it and to align itself with the Local Government mandate, Mvula Trust embarked on the process of crafting its new strategy that would strengthen its ability to support the water services delivery role of Local Government. Hence the main objective of this research study was to conduct a rigorous evaluation of Mvula's Strategic Business Plan (SBP) developed in 2003 by subjecting it to contemporary strategic planning processes. The study also looks at the extent to which the crafted five-year strategy has supported three northern KwaZulu-Natal District Municipalities of Uthungulu, Umkhanyakude and Zululand to deliver water services to their respective communities. A qualitative approach was employed to gather data about the situation under investigation. The first step was to gather secondary data from documents developed by both Mvula and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. The second step entailed collecting data from officials of Uthungulu, Umkhanyakude and Zululand District Municipalities using the questionnaire. The total number of questionnaires administered for the purpose of this study was thirty (30). For data analysis, all twenty-five (25) returned questionnaires were captured and coded using the software called Microsoft Access and subsequently imported into an analytical tool called stata. The main results from literature review and analyses indicate that Mvula's crafted strategy is not providing the organization with the competitive edge since it was not developed in line with contemporary strategic planning processes. Secondly, the existing strategy is not delivering on services requirements of municipalities. The services articulated by municipalities are mainly Institutional and Social Development (ISD) and quality sanitation development, in which roles Mvula can serve as a Project Agent (PA) instead of an Implementing Agent (IA). Finally, Mvula has not succeeded in supporting the water services delivery role of Northern KwaZulu-Natal District Municipalities. These findings imply that Mvula should embark on a rigorous strategic review. It should develop both a vision statement and a new mission statement which will respectively serve as a roadmap of the organization's future as well as a description of the organization's present capabilities, customer focus, activities and business make-up. Mvula should broadly consult with existing and prospective clients to better understand their support services needs. It is recommended that Mvula define its specific niche within the water services sector. Thus, the resulting strategy should adequately support local government towards meeting the 2014 deadline set for the eradication of water services backlog in their jurisdictional areas.