Delegations of powers for water use licenses a step in the right direction

Agri SA welcomes the signing into effect of critical delegations to fact-track applications for water use licences.

The delegation of power to issue water use licenses from the department of water and sanitation (DWS) head office in Pretoria to its regional offices and to catchment management agencies was signed into effect by the acting Director-General of the DWS, Ms Deborah Mochotlhi, on 16 February 2021. This is one of the key strategic measures to achieve revised timeframes to speed up the turnaround time for the finalisation of water use licence applications from 300 to 90 days.

The delegation allows for low risk and low volume applications for water use licenses to be finalised in the respective regional offices of the DWS, as opposed to such applications having to be dealt with in Pretoria only. Applications that are of national importance and that pose a high risk to water resources will continue to be dealt with at the DWS’s head office.

In accordance with the Vulindlela Programme established by the presidency and following a critical announcement by the minister of human settlements, water and sanitation in 2020, expedited water use licensing processes was identified as key reform towards unlocking economic growth in South Africa. The DWS’s delegations were crucial in this regard.

“Agri SA welcomes this critical step by the DWS towards the fast-tracking of water use licensing applications,” says Janse Rabie, head of Agri SA’s Natural Resource Centre of Excellence. “We hope that, as the largest user of South Africa’s water resources, the agricultural sector will benefit from this development. We also wish to extend our thanks and congratulations to the South African Association of Water Users’ Associations, in particular Mr Nic Knoetze, for their invaluable work in this regard over the past two years.”


Janse Rabie Agri SA Head of Natural Resources (C): 076 451 9601

Willem Symington Agri SA Chairperson: Centre of Excellence Natural Resources (C): 084 592 7474