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newsAmanz’ abantu Celebrates a Decade of Service

In a joyous occasion held at the La Terraza Restaurant in East London on 14 September 2007, Amanz’ abantu Services held its long-awaited 10th year anniversary.  The evening event was attended by the who’s who of the water and sanitation sector in the Eastern Cape Province.

Selected Speeches – 10th Year Anniversary

Ethne Davey – Welcoming Message
Councillor Luntu Bobo – Keynote Message

Message by Ethne Davey, Chairperson of the Amanz’ abantu Services Board

Good evening, councillors, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends, it is an honour and a privilege to welcome you to the Amanz’ abantu 10th year anniversary.  Some of you gathered here may recall the start of Amanz’ abantu.  For those of you who were not at the official opening ten years ago, I think that it is important for us to stop, take a few minutes and reflect why Amanz’ abantu.

The rationale behind Amanz’ abantu was to fast track water delivery to rural areas.  The difficult part were the expectations of the private sector company to achieve this by operating as an NGO yet to be accountable to its shareholders.  Looking back to 1997 we can safely say Amanz’ abantu rushed in where the angels feared to thread, pioneering a new way of doing business, contributing to the term “public private partnership”, commonly known as “PPP”.

Amanz’ abantu since June 1997 has continued with its goals from which the company claims its origin, mainly the provision of water supply and sanitation services to rural and peri-urban communities.  I have no doubt that 10 years ago some of the engineers in this very room saw implementation as the easy part of the Amanz’ abantu mandate.  The difficult part of the mandate was the incorporation of communities before project implementation.

Considering the misinterpretation of the so-called “soft issues” and the social dynamics that go with that term, there is nothing soft about the so-called soft issues.  Have you ever heard a water pipe saying that it’s not happy with the trench?”

Amanz’ abantu in the past 10 years took all the challenges in its stride.  There is no doubt, the challenges presented to Amanz’ abantu proved that its commitment to water implementation surpassed financial benefits.  Some of the Amanz’ abantu’s soft achievements – it developed proper management skills to emerging contractors, it built strong alliance partners, it encouraged integrated multisectoral partnerships.
The formation of Amanz’ abantu provided a platform for the inclusion of the historically disadvantaged people to buy shares in the company.  This allowed people who in forty years of apartheid rule have been prevented from owning shares in companies.  Amanz’ abantu Trust today owns 30% of the shares in Amanz’ abantu, making it predominantly a black shareholder company.

While some of us spent time and money attending international conferences presenting papers, agreeing to declaration after declaration on sanitation, all in the name of meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and how best to best change the lives of people who have no access to clean water and sanitation, Amanz’ abantu quietly continued building water and sanitation infrastructure.

In spite of having to submit numerous proposals which were not always approved and at times had to wait months to be paid, it rose to the challenge and built toilets so that women do not have to wait until it is dark to find a place to use as a toilet.  Regardless of the difficulties, Amanz’ abantu and the staff had to endure.  They took a small unknown company and proved that the private sector can work with the public sector.

In the past ten years the company has matured, excelled in its area of operation, gained international recognition.  And I say to you again, “Welcome and please enjoy the evening.  We look forward to see you at the 20th anniversary!”

Message by Councillor Luntu Bobo, Buffalo City Municipality Councillor for Engineering, Water and Sanitation

Government officials from all levels of government, colleagues, friends of Amanz’ abantu, good evening.

It is with honour that on behalf of the Buffalo City Executive Mayor, Councillor Zintle Peter, I heartly congratulate Amanz’ abantu on reaching the celebratory milestone of 10 years in existence.  Well done to all of you.  I extend the Mayor’s apology for not being present tonight and her best wishes for a successful evening to mark the occasion.

The visuals of your project are a testimony to a great deal of hard work, within a community based developmental ethos, which demonstrates that Amanz’ abantu like Buffalo City believes strongly in the values of partnership as a way of collectively achieving so much more. 

Like you, Programme Director, we strive to create effective developmental partnerships with business, civil society and other spheres of government to enable us together to hold back the frontiers of poverty and underdevelopment in Buffalo City.  To this end, the City’s theme of 2007 is a new pledge to create a City of Hope and opportunity for all so that all human potential could be nurtured and brought to fruition.

We have been pleased to partner with you in health and hygiene training around sanitation provision in Duncan Village.  We thank you for your commitment and professionalism in the project.

Communities must be agents of their own change and in particular both decision-making and wherever possible be engaged in job creation opportunities in their own villages, townships and suburbs.  This is a fundamental principle of participatory democracy, which Buffalo City holds dear.

We thank Amanz’ abantu for locating its Head Office in East London and playing a significant role over the last ten years in delivering services to citizens in the region.  Congratulations on your achievements and best wishes for your future success.  I thank you.

amanz’ abantu archives

Engcobo Post Office gets a facelift

The Group Five BoTT JV, the construction arm of Amanz’ abantu Services has been working in the Eastern Cape and has helped bring clean running water to within reach of hundreds of rural communities.

In spite of all this activity, the team had an uncharacteristically quiet period recently, due to delays on forthcoming projects.  But, being an energetic lot, inactivity did not sit easily on their shoulders and so, with buckets of paint and rollers in hand, the team set about rehabilitating the Engcobo post office.

Donald Davies, area manager for the Amatola region, says that they have done a considerable amount of work in the rural areas around Engcobo, which lies some 80 km west of Umtata.

“The post office had not been maintained since 1976 and had fallen into disrepair.  We felt that by rehabilitating it we would be contributing something lasting to the rural communities and the townsfolk.”

The team, lead by Meredith Nel, repainted the roof, exterior walls, interior walls and ceiling, replaced the gutters and constructed a front wall to replace a broken fence.

“The Postmaster and his staff, and prominent members of the town governing structures are delighted with the results and have expressed their appreciation for the construction,” says Donald.





The BoTT Programme Promotional Publications

Company Newsletters

Issue No. 1 – May 1998*
Issue No. 2 – Summer Edition*
Issue No. 3 – November 1999*
Issue No. 4 – March 2000
Issue No. 5 – June 2000
Issue No. 6 – Spring 2000
Issue No. 7 – Spring 2001
Issue No. 9 – Summer 2002