Appointment of new Chief Executive for uMngeni-uThukela Water

Sandile Mkhize returns to KZN to share experience and knowledge:
The new CE of uMngeni-uThukela Water is living proof that, when a village raises a child, the adult returns the blessings many-fold. In taking up the post of Chief Executive of uMngeni-uThukela Water, Sandile Mkhize is returning home to give the province of KZN the benefit of the wealth of knowledge and experience he has gained in the environmental and water services sector since he first studied, and later taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in the 1990s.

Born in the township of KwaMakhutha in Durban, Sandile has always believed in the value of science and education to contribute to society. After completing a BSc in Chemistry and Microbiology at UKZN in 1996, Sandile added a Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology in 1997 as well as a Master’s degree in Environmental Biotechnology from the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

All his knowledge was put to effective use when the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry provided him an opportunity in the Public Service sector when he was appointed as a Water Pollution Control Officer in 2000. A position as Senior Environmental Officer in the Gauteng Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs followed soon thereafter.

In 2002 Mkhize joined the Development Bank of Southern Africa as an Environmental Analyst. As Sandile is always eager to learn as much as possible, further studying ensued with a focus on business administration skills. After completing the Management Advanced Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2006, Sandile successfully pursed his MBA at the Milpark Business School.

A move to the private sector followed in 2007 when Sandile joined Chevron, owners of the Caltex fuel brand in South Africa. There, he could merge his environmental and business acumen in his role as the company’s site remediation specialist. This position involved extensive travel throughout Africa and this experience helped Mkhize to climb the corporate ladder and gain insights into the unique challenges faced in the water and environmental spheres on the continent.

Further continental experience was added during a period with AngoGold Ashanti where his management and administration skills were honed in roles involving project management while taking charge of the environmental department of a large mine in Tanzania. As is common with many in the mining sector, Sandile fell victim to the raft of mergers, right-sizing and other rationalisation measures in the sector and experienced the disruption facing retrenchment in 2013.

Never one to rest on his laurels, however, he turned this experience into a positive learning opportunity and spent some time as an environmental and planning consultant to entities in the water services sector.

Unsurprisingly, Mkhize’s unique blend of skills and experience was soon recognised and he was appointed as the General Manager of Magalies Water in 2014. This position was soon followed by his appointment as Chief Operating Officer of the entity.

In 2016, he was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Magalies Water. During his tenure at this State-Owned Entity, he was instrumental in ensuring that the utility delivered on its mandate in the most efficient manner possible. Whilst managing his day-to-day responsibilities, he also pursued a Senior Management Program at Havard Business School in 2017.

Highlights of his tenure at the entity include the growth of its asset base from R1.2 billion to its current R4.12 billion value while achieving benchmarks of above 90% against the requirements of its shareholder compact. In addition, Mkhize’s sound business administration skills and insistence on clean corporate governance standards, has seen the entity achieve annual clean audits from the Auditor General of the Republic of South Africa since 2019/20.

He steered the organisation through the reconfiguration of Magalies Water with Sedibeng Water in 2022. With his wealth of chemical, environmental and business knowledge and experience predominantly in the Water Sector, Sandile Mkhize’s is certain to ensure that uMngeniuThukela Water continues to deliver on its mission to improve water and sanitation services for all communities in Kwazulu-Natal.