Impilo Yabantu


Impilo Yabantu Services is a newly established company that is a subsidiary of Amanz’abantu Services. It was established to focus on Operation & Maintenance problems in the Water & Sanitation sector using Social Franchising as a model to implement these services.

The Company was formed in 2009, specifically for undertaking the Butterworth Water & Sanitation Pilot Project which would service 400 schools in the Butterworth educational district.

As a result of its successful Pilot project Impilo Yabantu now has an entire operational structure with the necessary procedures, which is able to service institutional and household sanitation facilities.
Impilo Yabantu Services has a 73% ownership by historically disadvantaged firms and individuals

Impilo Yabantu’ s mission is to provide affordable and sustainable municipal services, in partnership with Government Departments and Municipalities, to peri-urban, rural and developing communities, and is committed to:

  • a partnership approach with Government
  • the development of Local Government on the management of municipal services
  • the development of SMME’s or Social Franchisees in Operation & Maintenance of Water &  Sanitation programs
  • embodying corporate citizenship & social responsibility in the communities served
  • the provision of sustainable and affordable services to all communities
  • recognising women and people empowerment in entrepreneurial development
  • preservation of the environment
  • The provision of quality and appropriate solutions.

The Butterworth Pilot project 2009-2012

Early in January 2009, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was entered into between the Eastern Cape Department of Education (DoE), WRC, the CSIR, Amanz’ Abantu Services (Pty) Ltd, and Irish Aid.  This committed the parties to embarking on a pilot programme that would design and test a social franchising partnership model for the operation and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure and facilities at all schools in the Butterworth Educational District.  This pilot project, which is made possible by a grant from Irish Aid, commenced in April 2009, for a three year period.
The scope of the pilot includes:

  • Inception and start-up;
  • Ongoing implementation support by the franchisor;
  • The development of procedures and methodology;
  • Project monitoring and reporting; and,
  • Knowledge dissemination.
  • franchising partnerships can address both:
  • quality and reliability in operation and/or routine maintenance of infrastructure, especially water and sanitation infrastructure; and
  • job creation and skills transfer; also the creation and nurturing of emergent microentrepreneurs.

This partnership model provides appropriate training, a quality management system and procedures, and the backup of off-site skills held by the franchisor.  The franchisor identifies people with the skills appropriate to become franchisee microentrepreneurs, who are resident in the target area and who, once they have been exposed to training, are willing to enter into a franchise agreement.
Throughout the pilot over 400 schools have had their sanitation facilities overhauled and in some cases toilets built for the first time in the school’s history. While the focus was on school sanitation various house hold projects have also taken place with great success.  Impilo Yabantu Service is now able to offer a range of sanitation services through its franchisees, throughout the Eastern Cape. The methodology offers a sustainable solution to the problems faced by rural sanitation in an efficient, cost effective and professional manner.

Celebration ‘Launch’ of the Impilo Yabantu Brand

On 22nd March 2012 Impilo Yabantu invited the partners of the pilot project and other guests to celebrate the completion of the schools sanitation pilot programme.  Invited speakers included representatives from the CSIR, the WRC, IrishAid and the Eastern Cape Department of Education. Franchisees also shared their experiences about the project and how they felt about running their own business and the value of the work they do for the communities.

Dr. Kevin Wall from CSIR gave an overview of the project and the finding about the approach both success and lessons learnt. The key note address was delivered by Mr Eldred Fray from the Department of Education (DoE). He highlighted the overall success of the project and the potential for the DoE to replicate it across other educational districts.

Mr. Jay Baghwan from the WRC summarised that the franchise approach encouraged entrepreneurs while addressing the need for sanitation and water maintenance in South Africa’s schools, especially in rural areas. Mr Frank Kirwan from IrishAid explained this pilot programme was part of their 2008-2012 programmes that specifically addressed water and sanitation. He was impressed with the ‘return from a modest investment’. He found the strength of the partnership from each party involved was a significant part of the pilot programmes success.

Mr Oliver Ive from Amanz’ abantu explained how the partnering had been done between; the client and the franchisor, and the franchisor and franchisee. The key message Mr Ive portrayed was that for business to business partnership to flourish, the infra-structure owners need to focus on keeping their facilities running, and allow the company they commission to do their work.

The franchisees shared their experiences and expressed their gratitude to the partners with a small presentation.