In his State of the Nation Address on 23 February 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa made a declaration that water use licenses should be finalised within 90 days, with effect from 01 April 2020. Since this declaration, the Department of Water and Sanitation has worked tirelessly to revise Water Use Licensing Regulations in order to finalise the process within the new turnaround time of 90 days as declared by the President.
The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu together with her team responded to this directive as given by the President. The team ensured that the process of license applications is revised in response to the new stipulated time frame.
“The revised time frame for the finalization of the Water Use License Application process will ensure that DWS is an active and responsible participant within the economic and social sectors, with a particular impact on the recovery of the South African economy. The shortened time frame will bring certainty to all applicants and users”, said Minister Sisulu.
According to the previous regulations regarding the procedural requirements for Water Use License Applications and Appeals, 300 days were prescribed to finalise this process. However, the Department of Water and Sanitation has revised these regulations and ensured that the water use license application process is finalized within 90 days.
The business processes of Water Use Licensing has been revised and significant progress has been made. These processes include pre-application Department of Water and Sanitation South Africa DWS_RSA engagement with the applicant, compilation of the required technical reports, and public participation.
The Department assesses the application which can be rejected if it is incomplete, or be accepted if the required information is complete.
When all the information required is made available, the accepted applications are assessed and a decision is made within 82 days. The final step, which lasts for 4 days, comprises post administration of the decision (a letter of rejection of the application or a license is issued) and communication to the applicant.
To fast track the process of Water Use Licensing, the Department has also involved stakeholders to participate. Various stakeholders in the water and economic sectors, including agriculture, forestry, domestic, industry and mining, have been engaged by the Department.
The Department is fully committed to have meaningful engagements with all interested stakeholders to unlock delays and fast-track water use licenses to within 90 days as it was specified by the President”, said Mr Singh.
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