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DWS urges caution over water use as drought drags on

By Hélène van Zyl -  On 16 September 2016

No good news from our Department of Water and Sanitation. The drought in SA drags on, and even with good rain, the effects may last for years to come.

Newspaper headlines today also talk about our water crisis. This article from Engineering News:

No relief is in sight in one of the worst prolonged droughts that South Africa has ever grappled with, signalling continued – and intensified – water restrictions, as the country’s dams fall to their lowest levels in years.

The inter-Ministerial Committee on drought on Thursday warned that water use needed to be curtailed as there was no guarantee that there would be sufficient rain during the coming summer season to ease the water-stresses.

All nine provinces were hit by the severe drought in “all its forms – meteorological, hydrological, socioeconomic and agricultural,” said Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affair Minister and drought task team chairperson Des van Rooyen on Thursday.

“When we briefed the country last year, the national dam levels were estimated at 64.3% of our normal full supply. Since then, we have seen a drop in our storage quantity to 53% as at September 5,” he told media during a briefing.


This meant that strict implementation of drought operating rules, including restrictions from the larger supply systems, are currently being effected at all dams, with the decline in water levels necessitating the imposition of water restrictions on the public in a number of provinces.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) on Wednesday intensified the water restrictions to “stretch” the available water supplies, with 9 of the 12 water supply systems under restriction.

“The drought is far from over and, even with normal rainy seasons, it will take a number of years for the system to stabilise,” it said in a statement.

However, government stopped short of declaring the drought a national disaster, with Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane saying the impact of the drought could be eased through mindset and behavioural changes, enhancing response times to water leakages and the improvement of the design of water infrastructure to adapt to the realities of climate change.

South Africans currently consumed water well above global averages, coming in at 280 ℓ/d per person – compared with the global average of 175 ℓ/d per person – with some 40% of the household water allocations being used for irrigation and gardening services.

“We do have a possibility of living and making means with the little that we do have if we change our behavioural patterns,” she said.

Meanwhile, government is intensifying long- and short-term drought relief interventions to distressed areas, in addition to ongoing monitoring and evaluation efforts.

Hundreds of millions of rands had been injected into drought relief interventions, including water conservation and demand measures, such as water saving devices and water restrictors.

Motorised water tankers had been deployed and the water mix had increased to enhance the use of groundwater.

Further, aid had been targeted at struggling farmers, with infrastructure projects, such as drilling and equipping of boreholes, construction of stock dams and distribution of animal feed to farmers, along with support focused on livestock.

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Water restrictions loom with Vaal Dam levels critical

By Hélène van Zyl -  On 30 August 2016

According to Engineering News, water restrictions is becoming a reality. Luckily this is something we can do something about, by investing in a rain harvesting water tank.

This is an article from Engineering News:

Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North West could face water restrictions, with dam levels currently critical, the Water and Sanitation Department said on Thursday.

Although water restrictions had so far been avoided, metros were looking at how they could be implemented successfully, spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said.

Save Water

“Once the metros know how this can be done, we have to go back and decide from there,” he said.

Households needed to cut water use by 15%, and the agricultural sector by 20%.

The Vaal Dam was at 34% capacity on August 19, compared to 66% at the same time last year, according to Rand Water.

Ratau said the Vaal Dam system was at critical levels. It is the main supplier to Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State. Mogale City, on the West Rand, was the biggest consumer.

Residents urged to use water sparingly

The combined level of Gauteng dams was currently at 84.3%, four percentage points less than at the same time in 2015.

Should the Vaal Dam drop below 30% capacity, the Sterkfontein Dam would be used for emergency water supply. Its levels were at 89.5% on August 19.

In Limpopo, the department pleaded with residents to use water sparingly. The Nandoni Dam (57% capacity), Glen Alpine (2.5%) and the Nsami Dam (8.6%), as recorded on August 16, all desperately needed rain.

The Magoebaskloof Dam was at 100.2%, but this was not enough, due to the low levels of the other dams.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Umgeni system, whose five dams serve mainly eThekwini and Msunduzi, was at 47.8% and Hazelmere at 53.6% capacity.

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By Hélène van Zyl -  On 12 August 2016

‘Clear River’ campaign, an initiative of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and its partners, has managed to clear more than 50 rivers of pollution to date, the department reports.

The campaign, the umbrella initiative for all clean-ups across South Africa, was established by the DWS with the main aim of creating pollution-free freshwater ecosystems and environmental-savvy communities, which are actively involved and engaged in the management of water resources in the country.

Clear River

The campaign is informed by the need for water security, particularly in the face of global climate change, and is a “clarion call for a national and unified approach to protect our freshwater ecosystems, which include rivers, wetlands and broader catchments”, according to the department.

“Given that the country is also gripped by one of the worst droughts in decades, there has never been a more important time to remind South Africans that water does not originate from the tap and that clearing our freshwater ecosystems is the responsibility of everyone living in South Africa,” the department noted in a press statement last month.

Some of the rivers cleaned include the Ngwanele river, the Kuils river, the Luvuvhu river, the Siza river, the Qumbu river, the Molopo river, the Orange river and the Moreleta river.

During Mandela Day celebrations last month, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane joined the Clear Rivers campaign activities by leading the cleaning of the Jukskei river, in Alexandra, Gauteng, while Deputy Minister Pamela Tshwete paid tribute to former President Nelson Mandela by dedicating time to clean the Mzingwenya river, in Esikhawini, KwaZulu-Natal.

Activities during the initiatives included cleaning the river banks, removing solid waste from the rivers, collecting the waste and moving it to a landfill site, as well as public education and awareness.

Jukskei Clean-Up

The Jukskei clean-up proved to be a “much- needed” initative, according to the DWS, which noted that, as the river is surrounded by the most developed areas in the country and influenced by human activities, it is “highly polluted, owing to large quantities of litter, debris, sewer outflows and effluent being discharged into the system by households and industries”.

The Jukskei clean-up team comprised business organisations, such as Plastics South Africa (SA), which also provided the bags for the clean-up, Power FM, The Mvula Trust, Group Five, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the National Economic Development and Labour Council, the Black Business Council, Kleen Health and government structures such as City of Tshwane, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Joburg Water.

“We must claim back our environment and, through the environment, we must grow the economy,” Mokonyane said at the clean-up. She reiterated Mandela’s comments that, if South Africa does not act on the right to clean water, it is as good as “just talking” about inequalities in the country. The issue of access to water was crucial to sustainable development, she pointed out.

Plastics SA sustainability director Douw Steyn noted that challenges in clean-ups such as these included the availability of volunteers, but he stressed the need for preventive action, such as proper waste management, as well as increased awareness and public education.

The Clear Rivers campaign continued for the rest of July; however, plans are in the pipeline to ensure that the campaign is implemented more regularly in future.

Source of article: CREAMER MEDIA’s Engineering News.

What a wonderful, positive story! Let’s all be pro-active and harvest rain water.

SINVAC Plastics manufacture tanks from 300 to 10,000 litre capacity, in a variety of modern colours.


By Hélène van Zyl -  On 29 July 2016

The West Coast, known for its spectacular wild flower displays in spring, is also being exploited for its wind. The turbines are among 46 erected at Eskom’s Sere wind farm near Vredendal, about 250 km north of Cape Town. Built by Siemens, each is 115 m tall and can produce 2.3 MW of electricity. The first turbine was erected in December 2013, and the farm began generating at full capacity in January 2015.

Eskom’s CEO Brian Molefe, however, says – Renewable power ‘just raises Eskom’s costs.’

This article from Business Times:
Public opinion may back an increasing proportion of renewable energy being plugged into SA’s power grid, but Eskom CEO Brian Molefe says further independent renewable power production will be impractical and what he really needs is nuclear energy.

Molefe was defending a decision by Eskom to stop signing new agreements with independent power producers.

Accoroding to Molefe, the push for renewables from the industry was based on the integrated resource plan of 2011 which was now out of date. Any additional increase in allocation would simply further strain Eskom’s cost base without making a useful contribution to the national grid.


“Sometimes it is important to confront the facts rather than be passionate about issues. On any given day I will need about 35,000 MW at 6pm for peak demand. When that happens none of the solar panels installed in SA today will be available since the sun will have set.

I cannot guarantee that there will be enough wind today at 6pm to take us through the peak. That is a fact that confronts me on a daily basis.

Meeting peak power demand meant having base-load power from coal-fired power plants from about 10am.

I don’t need it then, but if I don’t have it then, I won’t be able to ramp up for the peak,” Molefe said.

He said Eskom was forced to buy day-time solar power or wind-generated power that it did not need from independent power producers.

“You can’t talk about competition in power production and then force me to buy from IPPs in 20-year agreements. The whole renewable energy industry’s competitive edge relies upon them being able to sign 20-year [power purchase agreements] with us. Surely that cannot be free-market economics?”

Instead, Molefe said he wanted SA’s base load to be provided by coal and nuclear.

“Storage technology will come but it’s still early days in the deployment of the technology. I think they’re still at the development stage and I’m sad to say at this stage the deployment is still very clumsy. If one is really in favour of a green economy, one would actually support nuclear.”

Kieran Whyte, head of the projects and energy group at the Baker and McKenzie law firm said his main concern was the uncertainty now prevailing with regard to independent power producers.

The lack of clarity might mean capital would move elsewhere.

According to White, the global trend was away from a dominant utility model and the local industry would be waiting to see how Eskom intended to continue developing its power base.

Energy commentator Chris Yelland said there should be an independent grid management agency making decisions based on cost and economics, rather than having Eskom control access to the grid as a way of ensuring it could pay back the costs of Medupi and Kusile.

“There is a conflict of interest,” Yelland said. “The country needs diversification of primary power generators.”

He said that a combination of open-cycle gas turbines and renewables could provide adequate base load.

SA remained overly reliant on coal for base-load power, he said, and going big on nuclear would tie the country to one technology and one player for nearly a century while other technologies continues to advance and became cheaper.

“It’s about economics and flexibility,” Yelland said.

“Least cost and least regret. Can we afford nuclear? I don’t believe studies on the levellised cost of power from nuclear versus diversified sources are receiving the public attention they deserve.”

Article by Brendon Peacock / Sunday Times / Business Times 24 July 2016.

While authorities are unsure about the future of power, we do whatever possible to insure the future of our water resources.

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Cele warns of further food price hikes as drought continues

By Hélène van Zyl -  On 22 July 2016

(News 24, 2016-07-21, 22:45)

Polokwane - Ongoing drought in South Africa has disrupted food production and threatens to push food prices up, agriculture deputy minister Bheki Cele said on Thursday.

He said recent rain has not helped improve water levels in the country’s dams and as a result farmers were unable to produce enough food to feed the country.

“There’s been rain but not enough, especially for our dams. There are dams that have gone up a little bit,” he said.

Cele said the drought, whose effects the country would feel for a long time, had forced South Africa to “prepare for the future”.

“The price of food, especially next year, is going to increase, especially the grain.”

Cele appealed to households with borehole water to consider planting vegetables instead of grass to improve their food security.


Family hailed for growing food

Cele said this after re-visiting a family at Ga-Kibi, north-west of Polokwane, where a family with a borehole had earlier in the year been persuaded to plant vegetables. In February Cele visited the family and found only green grass and no food growing in the impoverished family's yard. Today, Cele and officials from the department of agriculture found the family harvesting crops from their backyard. He hailed the move as an example of fighting food shortages and hunger.

According to Cele, boreholes are being drilled in many parts of the country to avert a water shortage that is crippling the agriculture industry.

Markets have been disrupted and food prices have increased as a result of the drought at a time when planting for the maize and sorghum harvests was due to take place.

Food prices in the country have increased since the drought began ten months ago.

Local livestock farmers, who have also been hard hit by the drought, live in fear of losing their remaining livestock.

We agree with the minister - GOOD IDEA TO PLANT VEGGIES.

But before you do that - invest in a water tank, to make sure your garden gets water regularly.

SINVAC water tanks from 300 to 10,000 litre capacity.

El Nino-hit Southern Africa seeks nearly R39bn in drought aid

By Hélène van Zyl -  On 18 July 2016

Southern African countries will start an appeal for $2.7bn (R38.87bn) to cope with the effects of the region’s worst drought in more than three decades that’s left 23 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Ian Khama, who is president of Botswana and chairperson of the 15-country Southern African Development Community, will this month declare a regional disaster because of the drought and start an appeal for support, SADC said in an e-mailed statement. The declarations enable international financial assistance.

The El Nino-induced drought damaged crops from palm oil, rice and sugar in Asia to grains in southern Africa and robusta coffee in South America.

El Nino Drought Aid

About 60 million people worldwide face a lack of food because of the phenomenon that has scorched harvests in some areas and caused floods in others, the United Nations said last week.

Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have declared national emergencies while eight of South Africa’s nine provinces have done the same.

“The appeal will be a formal request to the international community to provide assistance to affected member states,” SADC said. “The severe drought conditions have already taken toll on lives and livelihoods and the situation could deteriorate further if urgent assistance is not provided.”

The southern African region has been hit by two successive failed rainy seasons that resulted in heatwaves in the southern-most countries and flooding in the northern ones.

Article taken from FIN24 website.

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By Hélène van Zyl -  On 8 July 2016

With the gap between supply and demand for water expected to reach 17% by 2030, South Africans will be required to radically change their attitudes towards water use and conservation, particularly in the treatment of human waste, states the Strategic Partners Network South Africa (SWPN).

Game-changing new technologies requiring little or no water are essential if the country is to address the sanitation challenge and the looming water gap, according to the network.

The SWPN highlights that an estimated 11% of households are still without sanitation services, while these services do not meet the required standard for 26% of households that do have access to them. This leads to significant public health and environmental risks.

Water Research Commission executive manager and SWPN representative Jay Bhagwan agrees with Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyana’s statement that “it’s not all about flushing”, noting that universal access to sanitation does not mean that everyone must be able to flush, but rather that there is universal access to a more appropriate way of treating human waste.

“We need to build a culture which embraces the sustainability of water and recognises the benefits of treating human waste as an asset rather than a liability,” he says

Water Technology

Further, alternative thinking is required for solutions, which will treat the effluent at source, result in beneficiation, eliver the same user convenience as a flush toilet and save water while being environmentally safe, as well as result in less or no wastewater and sewage.

Dry technologies, through processes that involve dehydration, desiccation, solar treatment and combustion, are promising and could provide the solution, which is urgently required, the SWPN suggests.

Effluent Reuse

Sanitation comprises about 60% of the capital costs of water services, with between 30% and 40% of water used for flushing toilets. While South Africa is one of few countries which returns up to 68% of water for indirect use, sludge should be regarded as a resource. Reuse provides an opportunity to recover phosphates and nitrates for fertilisation, to convert sludge into biogas for power and to recover water from flushing.

Despite some progress on effluent reuse at certain municipalities in South Africa, the challenge of treating waste relating to sanitation remains, Bhagwan says.

While current modalities for waste collection and removal are often messy and hazardous, they regard flush toilets and a central sewerage system as the optimal method of disposal.

However, in many cases, this is not sustainable in the longer term, the SWPN argues.

Consequently, industries should think twice before using potable water if lower-quality water is available and is just as suitable for a specific function, avers the SWPN.

Article from

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By Hélène van Zyl -  On 4 July 2016

A reminder once again of how to save water.
This article from For Love of Water (FLOW):

Reduce water consumption

  • Turn-off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving or soaping hands.
  • Take shorter showers and use less water if you bath.
  • Avoid buying bottled water
  • Sweep outside areas instead of hosing with water.
  • Use eco-friendly soaps and cleaning products.
  • Fix leaks at home & report public water leaks to the Municipality.
  • Always use a plugged-sink or bowl instead of a running tap.
  • Insulate hot water pipes to reduce time waiting for water to heat up.
  • Install aerators and flow-reducing valves on your taps.
  • Install water saving devices on taps, toilets, showers & sprinklers.
  • Install a water meter and monitor your use.
  • Install an instant water heater at your taps for immediate hot water.

Tips on saving water


  • Wash your car with a bucket and sponge only.
  • Use a hosepipe with a self-closing nozzle to wash your car.
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.


  • Shower instead of bath.
  • Use less water in the bath.
  • Bathe young children together.
  • Flush the toilet only when odours make it necessary.
  • Put a brick in your cistern to reduce.
  • Install a low-flow shower-head.
  • Install aerators and flow-reducing valves on your taps.
  • Install a dual flush mechanism on your toilet.
  • Install a geyser blanket for insulation.
  • Insulate the copper pipes around the geyser.


  • Cut back on washing your towels and linen.
  • Match the size of your laundry load with water volume.
  • Buy an eco-friendly wash ball.
  • Buy a water-efficient washing machine.


  • Only turn the dishwasher on when it’s full.
  • Use a plugged sink to wash dishes instead of a running tap.
  • Use less dish-washing liquid to reduce the need for rinsing.
  • Use a plugged sink to rinse vegetables instead of a running tap.
  • Use the water you used to rinse fruit and veggies to water plants.
  • Keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge to avoid running the tap until the water is cold.
  • Don’t use running water to defrost food.
  • Install aerators and flow-reducing valves on your taps.
  • Purchase water-efficient appliances and water-saving devices.

Plants & Garden

  • Learn about water-wise gardening.
  • Water plants at the coolest part of the day.
  • Group plants together that have the same water requirements.
  • Water plants with the water you used in the kitchen to rinse fruit and veggies.
  • Choose local indigenous water-wise plants for your home and garden.
  • Adjust sprinklers to water plants and not the pavement.
  • Cover your pool so the water doesn’t evaporate.
  • Check your pool for leaks.
  • Put self-closing spray-nozzles on hosepipes.
  • Use natural and organic garden products.

Methods to check your home is leak free

  • Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks. Read the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water has been used. If the water meter doesn’t read exactly the same, then there is a leak.
  • To check for toilet tank leaks, add food coloring to the tank. If the toilet leaks, the toilet bowl will have changed color within 30 minutes.
  • Repair dripping taps by replacing the washer. If a tap is dripping at a rate of 1 drop per second, you could be wasting up to 10,220 Liters per year!
  • If your toilet handle constantly stays in a downward position this means that water is constantly running. Replace or fix the handle to avoid wasted water.
  • Insulate your water pipes. If you do, you’ll get hot water faster, avoid wasting water while it is heating, and also saving money on electricity!

Invest in a water tank

Sinvac Plastics manufacture tanks in a variety of colours, and sizes from 300 liter to 10,000 liter capacity.
… and we do INSTALLATIONS too!


By Hélène van Zyl -  On 24 June 2016

Be ready for the rainy season – invest in a water tank today.

Sizes from 300 to 10,000 liter capacity, in a variety of natural colours available from SINVAC PLASTICS.

This article from Engineering News on the state of our dams:

Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has warned that dam levels across all South Africa’s provinces continue to steadily decline each week, with the overall average dam levels falling 0.4 percentage points from 53.8% capacity two weeks ago to 53.4% by June 6. This compared with the 76.2% capacity of South Africa’s dams recorded in the comparative week last year. ADVERTISEMENT “A further fall off of about 10% before the onset of the summer rains can be expected,” the DWS noted in a statement on Monday. The department’s latest weekly assessment of 211 dams throughout South Africa showed 12 dams at below 10% capacity and 64 dams below 40%. The DWS said that only 18 of the monitored dams were at 100% capacity as at June 6.


The Gauteng-serving Vaal river dams system fell from 63.1% to 62.5% week-on-week, a significant drop from the 82.4% capacity levels reported at the same time last year. The Sterkfontein dam remained steady at 89%, while the Grootdraai dam experienced a decrease of 1.3% to 84.7% by last Monday. Further breaking down the declines posted, the DWS said that the Umgeni dam system, which served eThekwini and Mzinduzi, in KwaZulu-Natal, had decreased 1.5%, while Klipfontein, Goedertrouw and Hluhluwe were all falling weekly and were now at “dangerously low” levels of 17.4%, 20% and 13.4% respectively. The five-dam Algoa system, in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan municipality, decreased 0.8% week-on-week to 75.9% by June 6, while the six-dam Amathola system serving Buffalo City decreased 0.6%. “The Cape Town dams system serving mainly the City of Cape Town decreased by 0.6% this week, with the Voelvlei dam sitting at 20.6%, a decrease of 0.4% compared with the previous week. “In the Orange river, the Gariep dam is at 53.4%, a decrease of 0.7%, and the Van Der Kloof dam is at 65.1%, which is an increase of 1.1%,” the department pointed out. The Polokwane system saw a decrease of 0.3% to 51.3%. “The department has concluded stakeholder consultations for the Vaal, Orange and Bloemfontein systems and recommendations are being advanced on how to intensify and ensure water supply during the current low dam levels,” the DWS concluded.


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By Hélène van Zyl -  On 17 June 2016

The CSIR has found that 75% of our main water storage dams contain varying concentrations of cyanobacteria, with some water sources containing between 10,000 and 18,000 mg of microcystins in one litre of water. To put the CSIR’s astounding figures in perspective, consider Finland and the US. The Finnish government becomes particularly concerned if it dscovers 10 mg of microcystins in one litre of its water. Similarly, the US government becomes agitated if it finds 60 mg/litre. This means that some of SA’s water storage dams contain at least 300% more microcystins than the average accepted in these countries.

Despite this dire threat to our freshwater, the CSIR is unable to get funding from the state to conduct an extensive and ongoing nationwide survey of all our water resources in order to obtain an accurate picture of the problem.

Fortunately a water dipstick test for home use is now available at retailers. This reveals the concentration of microcystins in a sample of potable water to an accuracy of half a part per billion. This test provides the public directly with information on the quality of our freshwater resources and challenges the state’s monopoly on this crucial information.

South Africa’s Future Rainfall Patterns
Historical data shows that since 1950, extremely dry El Niňo related conditions, such as the one causing the current drought, have been increasing in number and severity. At the same time the La Niňa climate phenomenon, which results in wetter conditions in the southern hemisphere, are becoming fewer and weaker. Records show that from 1950 to 1980 there were many more average and above-average rainfall years than below-average rainfall years. Since 1980, this situation has reversed dramatically. To mitigate the inevitable effects of climate change, SA must begin taking necessary action.

Water Management

Light At The End Of The Tunnel – At Last
Professor Kader Asmal was minister of water affairs from 1995 to 1999. The current minister of the portfolio, Nomvula Mokonyane, (appointed in 2014) is the first minister since Asmal to actively implement evidence-based policy reforms to guide future decisions on the country’s water and sanitation challenges. Minister Mokonyane is fully appreciative of these challenges, particularly at a municipal level, and is single-handedly driving the transformation form the outdated Department of Water Affairs to the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation. She is earnestly trying to bring control to the country’s sanitation problems, and the public should strongly support her in this.

Information taken from Farmer’s Weekly 15 April 2016.

Please do what you can to use water sparsely. Contact SINVAC Plastics for a rain harvesting tank and start harvesting our precious rain water.


By Hélène van Zyl -  On 10 June 2016

Here is a summary of an article in Farmer’s Weekly of 15 April 2016, by prof Anthony Turton:

Potable Water

South Africa has 1085 potable water treatment plants (PWTPs), all run by state-owned entities, to provide clean drinking water to its citizens. A total of 250 PWTPs are dysfunctional or in poor operational condition. None of our PWTPs are designed, or equipped, to transform effluent into potable water. Yet the freshwater resources that these PWTPs are extracting their raw water from carry increasing loads of partially or untreated sewage and other toxic or pathogenic components. This means that the likelihood of these toxins and pathogens reaching us through our supposedly potable water supply is also increasing. Food that has been irrigated or washed with ineffectively treated raw water can spread toxins and pathogens to consumers and to farmworkers.

Amongst the most dangerous of these toxins are the microcystins produced by the cyanobacteria. More commonly known as blue-green algae, they thrive in sewage-polluted waters, and are chemically similar to rinkhals venom. In 1984 the CSIR first described the biochemistry of microsystins found in SA. Since then, no further significant research has been conducted into the effects on human health.

Water Management

Canobacteria are increasingly found in SA’s freshwater resources, including the Hartbeespoort and Roodeplaat dams. The CSIR has found that 75% of our main water storage dams contain varying concentrations of cyanobacteria, with some water sources containing between 10,000 mg and 18,000 mg of microcystins in one litre of water. However, government denies this, claiming that only 5% of our dams are contaminated.

To be continued…

Information taken from Farmer’s Weekly 15 April 2016.

Please do what you can to use water sparsely. Contact SINVAC Plastics for a rain harvesting tank and start harvesting our precious rain water.


By Hélène van Zyl -  On 3 June 2016

Here is a summary of an article in Farmer’s Weekly of 15 April 2016, by prof Anthony Turton:

Increasing demand, pollution, poor management structures and crumbling sewerage infrastructure could spell catastrophe for South Africa’s freshwater supply. Prof Anthony Turton, professor at University of the Free State’s centre for environmental management, takes a closer look at this dire situation.

“Facts are facts and we definitely have a water crisis in our country. Nobody can say otherwise. I am firmly of the view that the SA water sector is entering the early phase of what I term a ‘perfect storm’. “This is being driven by the convergence of at least five significant factors over which no individual has any direct control:

1. The country is transitioning to a fundamentally water-constrained economy.
2. The deterioration of water data management systems in our country.
3. The infrastructural collapse of SA’s sewage management plants.
4. The overloading of our country’s potable water plants.
5. The impact of the El Nino phenomenon.

SA’s current technologies allow access to 38 billion cubic metres of freshwater a year from surface water, some groundwater and some recycling resources. This figure assumes that all of the country’s water storage dams have full capacity and are not silted up to some extent. And we know that many of these dams are carrying significant silt loads.

Swiftly Growing Demand
South Africa’s freshwater demand is growing rapidly. Between 2030 and 2035, this demand will be for 62 – 63 billion cubic metres, well above the current supply produced by using existing technologies. By then, these methods would have sucked dry every drop of our country’s freshwater, including all rivers (with associated disastrous environmental effects) and boreholes.

New freshwater sources must be found, and we have to radically change the manner in which we deal with the country’s freshwater challenges.

If It Can’t Be Measured, It Can’t Be Managed
The extent of the collapse of our freshwater data management systems can be seen from a graph at the Water Research Commission which showed that while the number of government-managed rainfall gauging stations peaked at over 2000 in the 1970’s, it had dropped to about 1,100 in 1990. By 2003, the numbers of these crucially important rainfall gauging stations had dropped below 1,000. This trend indicates that there will soon be no stations left. We actually have fewer of these rainfall gauging stations now than in 1920, when the programme was launched.

Water Management

Currently South Africa has 824 wastewater treatment works, all state-owned and at mostly local municipal level. At best the country’s sewage is partially treated, at worst, completely untreated sewage is released back into our freshwater bodies. Under conditions of drought-induced low freshwater flow, this sewage puts immense environmental stresses on our dams, rivers and other aquatic ecosystems. At municipal level, the state is the single-biggest polluter of freshwater in the country.

To be continued…

Information taken from Farmer’s Weekly 15 April 2016.

Please do what you can to use water sparsely. Contact SINVAC Plastics for a rain harvesting tank and start harvesting our precious rain water.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 27 May 2016

As constant water supply is not guaranteed, aggravated by the prolonged drought, South Africans have become more proactive in saving water by creating emergency backup systems and systems that can collect rainwater, says water systems provider Sinvac Plastics, which is based in Pretoria West.

Sinvac Plastics MD Kobus van Dyk notes that, as water demand for the growing population exceeds supply, nonconventional and conventional resources are being explored; therefore, water conservation and water-demand management have become priorities.

He cites the 2014 study ‘Parched prospects: The emerging water crisis in South Africa’, published by the Institute for Security Studies, which says that, should the gap between demand and supply in water use increase, the proposed solutions by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation will not bridge the gap without additional aggressive measures having to be implemented.

Rainwater Harvesting

“The most immediate additional water available is that which can be stored in water tanks at homes, offices, factories and industries,” Van Dyk adds, noting that this supply can either come from rainwater harvesting – collecting, channelling and storing rainwater in a water tank for later use – or municipal water supply.

While such harvesting reduces water costs for homeowners, Van Dyk adds, the system, which is simple to install and easy to maintain, also reduces demand on ground- water and dams, as well as soil erosion. He also notes that filtering systems can be added to systems supplying drinking water.

Van Dyk adds that the Pretoria-based company, which has been supplying the South African market since 1962 with rotomoulded products such as water tanks, provides solutions such as its manufactured water tanks, as well as installing and maintaining rainwater-harvesting and emergency water supply systems.

Emergency systems consist of a standby water storage tank and pressure pump, both connected to the local municipal supply. As soon as municipal supply is cut, the pressure drops and the pump is started immediately, pumping water into the home or business, returning supply. “The emergency systems are normally connected to the municipal supply which keeps a water tank filled. Pressure is [maintained] by a twin-booster pump, which can maintain a pressure similar to the municipal pressure.”

“The reliability of water supply to larger buildings, such as shopping centres and office parks, is becoming a more pressing issue… We have, therefore, come up with a design that can be implemented at any establishment where a constant water supply is important to operations.” Van Dyk concludes that Sinvac Plastics, which, along with Sinvac Mining & Engineering and Sinvac Piping, forms part of Sinvac Group, remains a one-stop shop for water system requirements. “We have ensured that we have a range of quality products for an assortment of applications. Sinvac will also install water systems at households and businesses, as well as maintain maintenance contracts, ensuring that businesses and homeowners save on costs, as well as maintain sustainable water practices.”

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By Hélène van Wyk - On 16 May 2016

The government declared war on leaks - and invested R3-billion in training of plumbers. Let’s hope this initiative won’t go down the drain, especially with trainees being issued with set of tools.

At SINVAC Plastics we have expert teams who do installation as well as maintenance of water systems.

This article from Engineering News:

More than 15,000 students are expected to benefit from a R3-billion investment to train artisans like plumbers who, it is hoped, will stop millions of litres of water being wasted every year. “What is important is that we want to stop the loss the R7-billion a year water loss that we are experiencing now. We are making sure that we have capable people to do the job,” Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said while visiting Colliery Training College (CTC) in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, on Friday. She was there to check on the progress of the 3,000 students who had already started the programme. A total of 7,000 would be enrolled in the second phase, and another 5,000 in the third phase. Every trainee would get their own set of tools and one-on-one mentoring, she said. They would play a major role in reducing leaks and saving the country both water and money. She said the “war on leaks” which President Jacob Zuma announced in August last year was going “fairly well”. “Some of those who are here can be entrepreneurs in future. Others can be absorbed by our water boards, while others can be absorbed in maintaining of our public institutions,” Mokonyane said.

Plumbing experts

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By Hélène van Wyk -  On 27 April 2016

Wonderful to hear that our Government has money for water research.

This article from Engineering News:
The Department of Environmental Affairs on Thursday handed over a three-year R40 million agreement to the Walter Sisulu University for a water research programme. University spokesperson, Yonela Tukwayo, said in a statement that the programme was aimed at curbing water pollution.

Water Research

‘Walter Sisulu University in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs, will champion water pollution research through a partnership aimed at collecting and analysing water quality, sediment and biota samples along the country’s coastline,’ said Tukwayo.

The agreement is expected to culminate in the establishment of a laboratory within the university that will collect and analyse water quality samples.

The laboratory will be charged with providing baseline water quality information that will support long term assessment of accumulative impacts associated with ocean economy.

In addition, it will support recreational coastal water quality monitoring at local government municipalities and building capacity in the field of marine water quality.

‘The National Coastal Management Programme developed under the Integrated Coastal Management Act calls for the development of dedicated, co-ordinated and integrated coastal monitoring and reporting systems to measure progress in coastal management and reporting on variability and trends in biophysical, social and economic characteristics and processes in the coastal zone,’ said Department of Environmental Affairs Deputy Director-General, Dr Monde Mayekiso.

Mayekiso added that the monitoring of water quality in marine and coastal water on South African coastlines was currently fragmented, uncoordinated and non-uniform.

He added that contemporary monitoring initiatives did not use standardised analytical methodologies and protocols, leading to a number of challenges.

‘In addition, details of the analytical methods used in many programmes aren’t readily made available. It’s thus impossible to get a clear picture of water quality status of South African coastal and marine environment at any given time, or discern any possible trends,’ said Mayekiso.

The laboratory was expected to produce reliable data and information on the quality of the receiving coastal waters to support environmental management.

It is scheduled to be operational shortly after the formal agreement has been signed, with the first water quality samples analysed for the Eastern Cape. It is our preference that if you wish to share this article with others you should please use the following link:

CSIR successfully purifies sewage using algae

By Hélène van Wyk -  On 22 April 2016

Good to know the CSIR is still functioning well. This article from Engineering News.

The algae treatment project implemented by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) during the course of 2015 in the town of Motetema, in the Elias Motsoaledi municipality, is fully operational. “The location was chosen because the ageing infrastructure that the treatment plant uses was no longer capable of keeping up with the large amount of waste that was generated,” says CSIR wastewater treatment project leader Professor Paul Oberholster. The algae sewage treatment system uses the existing ponds located at the waste- water treatment facility, which all eventually flow into the Olifants River. In total, there are 12 ponds located at the facility, with six ponds dedicated to the algae treatment system. He says that these ponds already have high phosphate levels caused by years of poor sewage treatment. The phosphate levels at the Motetema wastewater treatment facility were increased because of the system that the facility had used previously. He explains that the system worked on a cycle: six of the 12 ponds were dried out in the sun while the other six were used to treat sewage. This has caused phosphates, inorganic chemicals, to build up in the ponds with each drying cycle. “Because of the high phosphates levels already in the system, we were able to see how our algae system reacted to higher- than-normal conditions. The system worked perfectly and the algae absorbed the phosphates,” explains Oberholster.

Purify sewage water

The CSIR isolated algae that can absorb up to 80% of the phosphates in water, specifically for this algae treatment system. Because the algae are specifically chosen by the CSIR, they had to be cultivated at the CSIR facility, in Pretoria, in Gauteng, before being transported to the wastewater treatment facility in Motetema. Before the algae is released into the ponds it is stored in water tanks that act as algae bio- reactors. The tanks are monitored to have the correct environmental conditions to promote further growth of the algae. This helps the algae to absorb any of the phosphates that are in the pond systems. The system works using different strains of algae in five of the six ponds. The algae are able to absorb specific harmful substances, with all the algae absorbing different levels of phosphate. He explains that phosphates are one of the most problematic substances in sewage because it can increase the amount of toxic blue-green algae bloom formation downstream. The entire system relies on gravity for the flow of water from one pond to the next, which means there is no electricity required. Before the water is fed back into the Olifants River, the algae-filled water is left in the last pond of the system. The sixth pond is unique because it does not contain much algae – it is filled with select fish that feed on the algae and other solids in the water. He explains that this keeps the algae from escaping into the Olifants River system and it decreases the amount of solids left in the water. “This is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, as the fish take the algae biomass and turn it into protein. The fish can be used for fish meal or even sold as ornamental fish as some of the fish in the ponds are koi,” explains Oberholster. To keep the fish alive in the last pond, there has to be a level of oxygen in the water. To accomplish this, the CSIR regulates the amount of oxygen by the total biomass of algae in the ponds.

Oberholster highlights that there are still a few risks that the system faces, one of which is unwanted plants, such as duck-weed, that could cause the algae and the fish to die. “The main danger that the system faced at the Motetema wastewater treatment plant was the duckweed that grew in some of the ponds, which reduced the oxygen in the water and the only viable solution was to remove all the duckweed physically.” Once the system is cleared of all unwanted plant species and the algae can grow naturally in each pond, the system becomes very low maintenance. “As long as the system is kept in balance, it only requires one person with a minimal amount of training to operate,” he states. He explains that, because the system requires no electricity and there is no need to upgrade existing infrastructure, it can be used in rural areas across South Africa. With the system in Motetema fully functional, the CSIR has started looking for new locations for further testing of algae treatment systems, with the latest tests possibly making the system suitable for use along the coastline. “We are currently in talks with the Mossel Bay municipality to start tests of the system in that area,” concludes Oberholster.

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By Hélène van Wyk -  On 15 April 2016

Thanks to the endless versatility of modern plastics, medical breakthrough considered unthinkable 50 years ago, are now regarded as commonplace.


Modern Healthcare

Modern healthcare would be impossible without plastics medical products we tend to take for granted: disposable syringes, intravenous blood bags and heart valves, etc. Plastics are particularly suitable for medical applications, thanks to their exceptional barrier and lightweight properties, low cost, durability, transparency and compatibility with other materials. Plastics in healthcare has revolutionized the field of medicine making patients safer and procedures simpler.

Plastic in the Medical industry

Reduction in medical costs, infectious disease and pain management
High tech polymers are used to create new and improved artificial limbs and plastic disposable delivery devices have succeeded in reducing the risk of infection to patients. Thanks to sterile plastics packaging, the US leads the world in keeping the rate of cross-staph infection down. Plastic medical disposables in particular have contributed to keeping the rates low.

Child Safety
The introduction of child-resistant caps keeps potentially harmful medicine out of the hands of children.

Improved quality of Life
Plastics in medicine have improved the quality of life for seniors and for those injured in accidents. Today’s artificial knees and hips rely on plastics to provide people with pain free movement and trouble-free joints. The gloves that surgeons wear are made from soft and pliable plastics that help maintain the sterile atmosphere of hospitals’ operating rooms.

It is highly unlikely that anything can replace plastic in the field of medicine, or that its use will be reduced in the very near future. The medical industry has been greatly improved due to the incorporation of plastics across a whole range of uses in all fields of medicine.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 8 April 2016

Engineering News warns of a water crisis within 15 years.

We need to harvest rain and then value every drop. We need to collectively save water – and remember that every drop counts.

With ever-increasing urgency, intervention is required, as South Africa is on the cusp of a major water crisis that poses an immediate, serious and broader risk to the economy and social stability.

In the next 15 years, water demand in South Africa would outstrip supply by 17% and the water boards of the country’s largest cities - Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria - would not have enough water to meet requirements, a new report has revealed.

ActionAid South Africa’s ‘Running on empty: What business, government and citizens must do to confront South Africa’s water crisis’ report showed that the ongoing worst drought in decades put into perspective the critical challenges and the potential for economic derailment in the thirtieth-driest country in the world.

The risks and challenges South Africa faced were, however, “far broader in scope” than the current emergency and could mar the country’s progress, with a lack of action leading to social conflicts, causing further damage to already marginalised communities and severely limiting socioeconomic development. “

The indirect consequences pose the most significant risk to both economic and social stability, triggering widespread anger and protest. The resultant economic crisis could likely lead to cascading political crises that would impede much-needed economic and social development for decades to come,” the report highlighted.

Water Shortages

However, despite having nearly half the rainfall of the global average - 450 mm a year compared with the global average of 860 mm - South Africa used on average 235 ℓ/d of water for domestic purposes, significantly more than the 173 ℓ/d average of the rest of the world.

The ActionAid report pointed out that nearly 100% of available water in South Africa was already allocated, while an estimated 40% of wastewater treatment plants were in a “critical state, diminishing the country’s ability to replenish water stocks”.

Leakage also remained a challenge, as 25% of water was “lost” through leaks before it reached the consumer. Another 6.4% of water was stolen by “unauthorised” users. “

Longer-term modelling indicates that further decreases - even by 1%  – in the quality and usability of water in South Africa could lead to the loss of an estimated 200 000 jobs, a drop of 5.7% in disposable income per person and an increase of 5% in government spending and debt, as well as a 1% drop in gross domestic product growth rates,” the report added.

Government’s current plan was inadequate to deal with the scale of the problem, the authors stated. “

Government has set a target to halve the current nonrevenue water loss of 39% by 2020; however, it is unlikely this target will be achieved. While municipalities also have targets, government is encouraging them to put concrete measures in place given the general lack of performance. Most of the Department of Water and Sanitation’s budget is spent on developing water infrastructure each year,” ActionAid said in the the report.

It recommended that R300-billion be allocated for spending on the infrastructure needed to avoid a full-scale water crisis over the next four years. “

This is more than 100 times the budget allocated to water management in 2013. “

Although South Africa has made significant progress in ensuring that more citizens have access to fresh water, this trend is rapidly reversing due to crumbling infrastructure and extreme weather events,” the research indicated.

South Africa, sitting at the start of a “major water crisis”, needed to act urgently to limit demand for water and find ways of increasing supply. “

We need a paradigm shift in the way we value and manage water. Instead of placing the prime focus on building new dams and infrastructure that will take too long to help solve the immediate crisis, South Africa must refocus its response from securing supply to investing in managing demand more effectively,” the report recommended.

A collective focus on water efficiency measures in all parts of society was deemed the only immediate solution to mitigating the risk, generating significant water savings and delivering a more equitable distribution of water.

One such possible solution included the agriculture sector, which was hard hit by the prolonged drought, cutting back its water use through the implementation of efficiency measures.

The sector, which used 60% of the country’s water, could save between 30% and 40% of water by ensuring the efficiencies of water irrigation systems.

Further, if the domestic and municipal sectors, which currently accounted for 27% of water use, resolved physical leaks and increased household water efficiency, the consumption could be reduced by between 12% and 30% . “

If average household water consumption was cut by 20% today, it would contribute significantly to building the ten-year water reserve needed to avoid future water cuts,” the report showed, adding that if per capita municipal consumption was lowered to the world average by 2035, the demand-supply gap would be reduced by almost half.

Further, 3.1-million households would be able to access a basic supply of 6 000 ℓ/m of water if industry reduced its use by 10% , while 624 000 households would benefit if the natural resource intensive industry reduced its water use by 10% .

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SIZES FROM 300 to 10 000 liter.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 1 April 2016

Something is wrong - why is it necessary for a municipality to fine individuals and businesses for NOT saving water? When did we lose our respect for natural resources? It is a sad day if we, even in times of drought, waste water.

See this article by Engineering News on the penalty system in KZN.

KwaZulu-Natal’s eThekwini municipality has warned all users to cut back on water use or face penalties. The city announced on Tuesday that it was taking a hard-line stance as the Midmar and Albert Falls dams, which service the bulk of eThekwini, take strain in what has been described as South Africa’s worst drought in decades. Domestic users failing to reduce water use would be fined R500, while commercial and industrial consumers would be slapped with a R10 000 penalty for failing to reduce water consumption substantially after numerous requests.

Save Water

Currently, the water levels of Midmar and Albert Falls dams were at 47% and 35% respectively, with the Department of Water and Sanitation instructing water use for the region to be slashed by 15%. MORE INSIGHT KZN water pipeline project to be completed by mid-2017 Mpumalanga to be declared drought disaster zone “The city’s executive committee approved penalties and fines to those who continue wasting water despite the city’s constant plea to save water. Noncompliance will be addressed individually,” warned eThekwini Water and Sanitation head Ednick Msweli. Earlier this month, the municipality imposed additional water restrictions across the city and warned that water cuts would be implemented “to save the little water left” in the Umgeni water system. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube issued a directive to all affected municipalities in the province to implement water restrictions to reduce water use by 15%. “This is necessary in order to avert a crisis situation that could occur by the end of 2016,” she said at the time.

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By Hélène van Wyk -  On 18 March 2016

The theme of National Water Week this year, which runs from 17 to 23 March, is Water: sustaining lives, enabling growth.

This is the Department of Water Affairs WATER WEEK message:

The Department of Water Affairs is appealing to all South Africans to play a role in conserving and protecting the countr’s water resources. This year’s National Water Week, from 17-23 March , comes at a time when this precious finite resource faces a number of challenges across the country. These include among others, water shortages in certain municipalities and reported water quality concerns.

The causes of the water shortages vary according to the different problems faced by the municipalities. In areas where issues of inadequate infrastructure have been identified officials are undertaking upgrade and repair work, in others, the recent excessive heat or high temperatures that have been experienced have led to the reservoirs drying up, thus affecting water availability and supply. It is clear that the department and the sector have to move in earnest to implement the long term measures which are aimed at addressing these enduring challenges in our localities.


A renewed sense of urgency and commitment in water management and enduring partnerships with the private sector and entire South African society is needed to deal with the challenges of water availability and security of supply. Water Week serves as a platform to, among other things, make South Africans aware of the fact that our country is among the driest in the world and that water conservation is the responsibility of all within our borders.

The Water Week Campaign is aimed at educating the public about their responsibility in water conservation initiatives, raising awareness around the need to protect and conserve the country’s water resources.

Water Week also has the objective of seeking to re-emphasise the important role water plays in sustaining all forms of life in society and the linkages between water services, water resource management, water quality management and water conservation and water demand management.

The department is also encouraged that its partners in the water sector, including civil society organisations, industry, provincial and local government are also hard at work to spread the crucial message of water conservation. A renewed sense of urgency and commitment in water management and enduring partnerships with the private sector and entire South African society is needed to deal with the challenges of water availability and security of supply. Water Week serves as a platform to, among other things, make South Africans aware of the fact that our country is among the driest in the world and that water conservation is the responsibility of all within our borders.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 11 March 2016

It is raining outside, and earlier this week Pretoria had more than 100 mm of rain fall overnight. What a blessing. The drought, however, is not something of the past.

This article from Engineering News:
The worst drought in decades has cost South Africa’s agricultural industry some R16-billion to date; however, despite many provinces being hard-hit by the prolonged drought conditions, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana did not believe the crisis was deep enough to declare a national emergency. Government would continue its drought relief measures with some R1-billion set aside by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Land Bank to aid the worst-hit farmers with R528-million allocated for smallholder farmers and R130-million to support indebted commercial farmers.

The Department of Water and Sanitation reprioritised R502-million to deliver water, protect springs and refurbish boreholes and provide further intervention support programmes such as start-up gardens and food parcels to identified villages and towns. While the conditions were tough, declaring the drought a national disaster would only exacerbate the already dire situation, he said, indicating that banks would likely reduce their exposure to agriculture, thus reducing the amount of aid the sector was currently receiving and putting more pressure on farmers’ debt responsibilities. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was currently examining additional funding options, including potential soft loans from the IDC and Land Bank and planned to approach the National Treasury for further funding. Funds had also been provided for feed and support for livestock farmers and general disaster relief measures. Rains, which typically started in October and November had been 10 to 50 days late and significantly below average, as the country remained hostage to an intense drought caused by what had been described as the strongest El Niño event in half a century.

Drought Costs Agriculture Sector

“Already, regional food supplies are limited, staple food prices are higher than average, and acute food insecurity is more prevalent than usual due to poor crop harvests in early 2015,” Agri South Africa (SA) executive director Omri van Zyl outlined earlier this month at a conference. An Agri SA status report on the current drought crisis highlighted the “devastating” impact of the drought, including the depletion of natural grazing, leading to the forced slaughter of livestock.

The shortage of rainfall had led to reduced plantings of summer cash crops, with estimations that the area of maize planted for the 2016/17 season could total around two-million hectares – 25% lower that the area planted in the 2015/16 season. The maize crop had been reported at levels of 9.9-million tons in 2015 – a level that was well below the norm. Maize production was now projected to be down by 25% to 35% compared with the average, with imports required to meet the needs of both South Africa and its similarly suffering neighbours. “If the abnormally hot and dry conditions persist, a regional food security crisis, including a substantial increase in the size of the acutely food insecure population, is considered likely in the latter half of 2016 and early 2017,” said Van Zyl. “As the drought has a direct impact on the country’s food security, we will import an estimated four-million tons of maize to meet domestic needs,” Zokwana said, adding that R2.8-billion was allocated over the medium term to food security initiative Fetsa Tlala. The agricultural sector also recorded the largest decline in two decades as the industry posted a 14% decline during the fourth quarter of 2015 and a 8.4% drop between 2014 and 2015.

Be wise and harvest precious rain. Variety of sizes manufactured at our factory in Pretoria West.

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By Hélène van Wyk -  On 4 March 2016

An article in Engineering News, on our sister company Sinvac Piping (Pty) Ltd.

Original-equipment manufacturer Sinvac Mining & Engineering is capable of supplying its South African Bureau of Standards-approved Sinvac Piping Systems not only across South Africa but into other areas of Africa. Piping systems are manufactured, supplied, fabricated and installed by Sinvac Mining & Engineering and Sinvac Piping, two companies in the Sinvac Group of Companies, operating from Sinvac House, in Pretoria West, Gauteng. Established in 2007, Sinvac Mining & Engineering operates from the manufacturing platform created by Sinvac Piping, Sinvac Plastics and Johannesburg Foundry. “The cumulative manufacturing, fabrication, site installation, maintenance and projects experience of the Sinvac companies and their enthusiastic and dedicated employees create a definite and distinctive footprint that bodes well for any potential customer,” boast Sinvac Mining & Engineering.

Sinvac Piping

Sinvac Mining & Engineering offers an exceptional service and professional approach to industrial-scale projects, smaller projects and around-the-clock maintenance and continuous operations. The company has a staff complement of over 200 employees based at Sinvac House and its business units in Rustenburg, in the North West, and Witbank, in Mpumalanga. To meet client demands, Sinvac Mining & Engineering is equipped with nine high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe production lines, 42 HDPE pipe welding machines and related equipment, HDPE hydraulic bending press (seamless bends), equipment for manufacturing of fabricated bends, -tees, -laterals and -crosses, tractor loader backhoes, or TLBs, telescopic handlers and site vehicles. Pipe supply comprises the manufacturing of HDPE solid wall with an outside diameter of between 20 mm and 630 mm in classes PN6 to PN25, and manufacturing of HDPE structured wall with an inside diameter of between 300 mm and 1200 mm in 4 MPa and 8 MPa hoop stiffness. Sinvac Mining & Engineering also offers the supply, fabrication and installation of piping systems manufactured from polypropylene, unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (PVC), modified PVC, carbon steel, stainless steel, mild steel and ductile iron, as well as around-the-clock maintenance. In-line items, civil and earth works-related to piping systems are also available, as are and engineering services for pipeline design optimisation and bill of quantities.

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By Hélène van Wyk -  On 12 February 2016

Sinvac Plastics’ sister company is Sinvac Piping.

See this Engineering News article on replacement of current pipes with mPVC and HDPE pipes.

Municipal pipe replacement projects could help relieve water pressures.South Africa is in the throes of its worst drought in decades, with the South African Weather Service announcing last month that 2015 was the driest year on record since 1904. To combat this, government has implemented water restrictions in Gauteng, Cape Town and parts of KwaZulu-Natal. However, Industrial Water Cooling (IWC) CEO Roger Rusch argues that these restrictions will not be effective enough to tackle the current water crisis facing South Africa. Municipalities need to urgently replace old steel and asbestos cement pipes with suitable, maintenance-free reinforced plastic pipes, he believes.

Sinvac Piping

“What is shocking is that, in our water-scarce country, millions of litres of water are being wasted every day, owing to leaks in ageing municipal pipe infrastructure. With the National Treasury estimating that South Africa’s water demand will outstrip supply by 2030, municipalities … need to act immediately … ” he states. Department of Water and Environmental Affairs data from 132 municipalities, representing 75% of the total volume of municipal water supply, shows that municipal water losses in 2013 totalled 36.7% of water used, of which 25.4% was attributed to leakages, amounting to an estimated R7.2-billion a year loss to the economy. Figures released in early 2013 for Gauteng’s 2011/12 financial year are just as alarming, showing that Gauteng municipalities collectively lost 480 980 000 kℓ of water, enough to fill the Hartbeespoort dam 2.5 times, amounting to R7.84-billion in financial losses.

“The majority of South Africa’s municipal water pipes were installed in the 1960s, using steel or asbestos cement piping. The problem with steel and asbestos … is that they corrode over time,” Rusch points out, adding that corrosion is the primary cause of pipe leakages. In 2010, the eThekwini municipality became the first municipality in South Africa to embark on a massive pipe replacement project. The R1.6-billion project was completed in 2013, resulting in more than 1 600 km of asbestos cement pipes having been replaced with modified polyvinyl chloride (mPVC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipes. “Municipalities need to follow eThekwini municipality’s example or … risk daily pipe bursts, followed by catastrophic component failure and regular and prolonged disruptions in service delivery. This is already happening in parts of the country,” Rusch declares. He says glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) pipes offer significant benefits in demanding applications, such as underground water supply systems. GRP pipes are lightweight, easy to handle and join, available in a range of sizes and pressure ratings, and have low frictional resistance, with hydraulic properties that remain virtually unchanged over their life span of 50 to 100 years, resulting in low pumping costs. “Another major benefit of GRP pipes is that, once installed, they are virtually maintenance- free and do not corrode, unlike steel or asbestos cement pipes. GRP pipes are also stronger than mPVC and HDPE equivalents,” Rusch concludes.

Read the article at:

Don’t miss a drop of rain – harvest in Sinvac Plastics water tanks, size 300 to 10 000 liters.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 29 January 2016

I had the privilege of attending an aquaponics workshop at the My Aquaponics farm in Midrand. It is fascinating way of farming. Book a course with them at and then buy your first aquaponics bin from Sinvac Plastics.

It makes sense that an Asset Management Company invests in this farming method of the future.

Here is the article from Engineering News:

Specialist investment company Futuregrowth Asset Management has identified aquaculture as a strategic play to enhance returns for its shareholders, setting aside around R200-million for investment in sustainable aquaculture projects, particularly those that earn the majority of their revenue from abalone farming. Futuregrowth investment analyst Amrish Narrandes said in a statement on Thursday that aquaculture showed significant long-term growth prospects with “very high” export potential. The sector was a component of the ocean economy – one of the key sectors identified under Operation Phakisa, a government initiative to deliver on some of the priorities encompassed in the National Development Plan. According to a report by the Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management (CENRM) at the University of Western Australia, aquaculture was one of the fastest-growing food producing sectors in the world. The report indicated that aquaculture now provided almost half of all fish for human consumption, a share that was projected to rise to 62% by 2030. CENRM data showed that South Africa was the third-largest supplier of farmed abalone in the world with an estimated production of 1 450 metric tonnes (mt) in 2015. In comparison, 50 000 mt of abalone was farmed in China and 10 000 mt in South Korea.


Futuregrowth managed more than R150-billion on behalf of retirement funds, with this investment falling within the Futuregrowth Development Equity Fund. To date, the fund had invested about R1.7-billion in development projects with exposure to sectors ranging from infrastructure to pharmaceuticals and transport. “Our investment meets the mandate of the Futuregrowth Development Equity Fund thanks to the socially responsible, sustainable nature of abalone aquaculture, a sector that remains under-invested in South Africa despite ongoing poaching of wild abalone populations,” remarked Narrandes. Co-analyst of the investment Dolf van Wijngaarde said Futuregrowth had no specified timeframe in which it planned to invest its capital and would evaluate projects on their merits. The fund, which financed selected projects primarily through equity stakes, could also opt to increase its investment allocation to aquaculture should it find appropriate opportunities in the sector. “We could invest it all in one year but it could take longer; it all depends on the quality of the investments that are available to us at the time,” he said. The aim was to look for the most profitable investments for Futuregrowth’s pension fund clients provided they adhered to the sustainable, developmental mandate of the fund. Narrandes said the fund, which was open to South-African domiciled institutional investors, preferred to take a minority stake in multiple businesses. “That gives us sufficient scale to exert some degree of stewardship over the business but without taking control,” he explained, adding that businesses that earned the majority of their revenue from abalone aquaculture were preferable not only because of the growth prospects of that sector but also because of the strong contribution this made to relieving pressure on wild abalone populations. President Jacob Zuma has said South Africa needed to do more to unlock the vast potential of its oceans, which government believed could contribute R177-billion to the country’s economy each year and create as many as one-million direct jobs. South Africa’s oceans contributed about R54-billion to its gross domestic product in 2010 and accounted for around 316 000 jobs.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 22 January 2016

Suddenly water is priority. I can never understand why we must save water in times of drought. Shouldn’t respect for water and other utilities be a way of life?

Cape Town hosts the African Utility Week in May 2016. Good to see they have their priorities right.

Local power utility event puts water on its agenda. The sixteenth African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference and trade exhibition, which will be held in Cape Town from May 17 to 19, is expected to host 6 000 engineers, stakeholders and solutions providers from around the world, who will be exposed to 250 exhibitions, 250 speakers, a six-stream strategic conference, a free-to-attend technical conference on the expo floor, three high-profile keynote sessions, technical site visits and the industry awards gala dinner. Event director Evan Schiff highlights that the African Utility Week advisory board takes an active role in making sure the programme addresses the latest challenges, developments and opportunities in the power and water sectors, including generation, transmission and distribution, metering, clean energy, finance, reliability, water supply and energy efficiency.


“We will once again showcase many success stories in clean energy; bankable power projects and energy storage will [also] be discussed as a possible game changer for energy independence,” he says, adding that water will be another focal point, particularly the topics of the water-energy nexus, water efficiency and wastewater management. “There is no doubt that renewable energy as well as smart technology are changing the way power and water utilities operate and deal with their customers. The industry is constantly challenged and presented with new opportunities, and it is, therefore, vital for power and water professionals to share knowledge and collaborate on a regional basis,” Schiff states. Zimbabwe-based Southern African Power Pool coordination centre manager Dr Lawrence Musaba, who has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers at the annual industry meeting, says that current challenges facing the energy sector include “low tariffs [which make] it difficult to invest, power shortages leading to load-shedding, poor maintenance of the electricity infrastructure and poor governance and management”. He suggests that power utilities should operate as commercial entities, as a move towards “cost-reflective tariffs” would offer significant advantages, while “attracting the private sector would provide the much-needed investment capital”.

Have respect for our resources. Harvest rain water. Buy a water tank.

Water Tanks


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 15 January 2016

I came across a website with the most striking pictures of Senekal in the Free State.

Image 1:
In this Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 photo, an elderly woman drinks water from a bucket after waiting for hours for the municipality to deliver free water, in Senekal, South Africa. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland—along with much of eastern and southern Africa—bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Image 2:
In this Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 photo, a woman arrives to collect stagnant rain water from an unfinished sewerage treatment tank, now used as a well, to do her laundry in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland—along with much of eastern and southern Africa—bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Image 3:
In this Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 photo, a boy keeps a spot in a queue for free water being transported in by the municipality, in Senekal, South Africa . Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland—along with much of eastern and southern Africa—bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Image 4:
This Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 photo, shows the almost dried-up local dam in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland—along with much of eastern and southern Africa—bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Senekal Drought

Image 5:
In this Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 photo, an elderly woman waits with containers in a wheelbarrow to collect free water in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland—along with much of eastern and southern Africa—bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Image 6:
In this Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 photo, women use buckets and cloth to collect stagnant rain water from an unfinished sewerage treatment tank, now used as a well, to do their laundry in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland—along with much of eastern and southern Africa—bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Image 7:
In this Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 photo, residents queue for free water transported in by the municipality, in Senekal, South Africa. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland—along with much of eastern and southern Africa—bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Image 8:
In this Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 photo, residents queue for free water from the municipality in Senekal, South Africa where taps and water sources have run dry. Senekal, a small town in South Africa’s rural Free State province, is one of four regions declared disaster areas as a drought dries up South Africa’s heartland—along with much of eastern and southern Africa—bringing with it failed crops and acute water shortages. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)


This is the reality in our country today. We are lucky if we still have running water. But we are foolish if we think what happened to Senekal will never happen to us.

Be wise and harvest rain water.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 8 January 2016

With South Africa experiencing the worst drought conditions in some 20 years, and the North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Free State provinces already declared drought disaster zones, renewed action plans have been enforced to assist these areas. Civil rights movement AfriForum on Friday launched a campaign encouraging the public to contribute R10 through an SMS helpline (SMS your name to 38312) over the next few weeks. The organisation would then double the contributions on a rand for rand basis. At the end of the campaign, AfriForum, in cooperation with agricultural organisations such as TAU South Africa, would use the funds raised to assist farmers who experienced severe shortages of fodder, as well as towns that experienced water shortages, to help alleviate the suffering. “Farmers suffer terribly and some towns currently have no drinking water. We can do nothing else but to roll up our sleeves and help,” said AfriForum spokesperson Henk Maree. In earlier media reports, Grain South Africa noted that the country would need to import as much as five-million tonnes of maize this year, compounded by the fact that only 25% of the usual corn crops have been planted in the North West and 20% in the north western and central Free State.

Drought affecting farming

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SINVAC PLASTICS wholeheartedly supports this initiative by Afriforum. Please do what you can and help our farmers.

Also help yourself by being pro-active. The drought is now a reality. Invest in a water tank for your home and/or business.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 4 January 2016

Trust you had a good time of rest, in spite of the heat waves and drought in our country. I like this positive story about someone who wanted to help. The result made a difference. Hope this will inspire you to do what you can to change lives where you go. This story from News24 website:

A Middelburg woman has started an initiative to get holiday travellers to take water to areas that have not seen much rain in recent times.

Caroline van Saasen, a 46-year-old who works as a secretary at the Middelburg Chamber of Commerce, says she started the initiative on Sunday evening.

“I just thought that if nobody starts, how will the problem ever get solved?” Van Saasen told News24.

She created a Facebook group called Waternood Suid Afrika/Water shortage South Africa and within seven hours, word had spread and the group had grown to over 400 members from across the country.
“I‘m a member of the Boere in Nood GroepFacebook group and some people said that the water shortage has become so bad that some of their calves have died. They also asked people in what areas rain is needed, which gave me an indication of where to start,” Van Saasen said.
So far she has organised eight people who have agreed to manage certain points where people are welcome to drop off water that will then be given to those desperately in need of it.


Making a difference The mother of three said she just wanted to help people get access to pure water and to make a difference, even in the tiniest manner.

“It‘s not just farmers who have it tough, but there are a lot of black communities in surrounding areas who also need water. Therefore, we need to get as many people as possible to manage the points where people could deliver and receive water.”

People in Welkom, George, Colesberg, Postmasburg and Hoopstad, between the North West Province and Bloemfontein, have so far committed to help her.

According to her Facebook page, they have identified the following areas as possible targets to deliver water: Welkom, Kroonstad, Hoopstad, Bothaville, Bloemfontein, Viljoenskroon, Parys, Villiers, Harrismith, Bethlehem, Edenburg, Aliwal North, Colesberg, De Aar, Prieska, Kimberley, Upington, Vryburg, Lichtenburg, Mahikeng, Newcastle, Vryheid and Greytown.

She has asked that anyone heading to one of these places, and willing to donate a bottle of water or two, make contact with her on the Facebook Page>

Contact Sinvac Plastics in Pretoria West for water tanks of all sizes - 012-386-6484.

Water Tanks

A third of South Africans still lack access to safe, private toilets

By Hélène van Wyk -  On 27 November 2015

For every day of the year there is an absurd (and funny) commemoration.
Here are just a few examples for November:

  1. Waiting for the barbarian day
  2. Gunpowder day
  3. Chaos never dies day
  4. National pizza with the works except anchovies day
  5. Button day
  6. Have a bad day day
  7. Start your own country day

But the United Nations also draw attention to more serious matters. 19 November was WORLD TOILET DAY. And this is no joke. Read this Engineering News article to see why.

Recent analysis revealing that 33.6% of South African citizens lack access to safe, private toilets. It has prompted international charity WaterAid in Southern Africa to call on government to make further commitments to delivering universal access to sanitation. This came despite access to sanitation in the country having improved by 15 percentage points since 1990, making it the seventh most improved of 38 countries with measurable data in sub-Saharan Africa. WaterAid’s inaugural ‘It’s No Joke – State of the World’s Toilets’ report highlighted the plight of more than 2.3-billion people worldwide that did not have access to a safe, private toilet. Of these, nearly one-billion had no choice but to defecate in the open – in fields, at roadsides or in bushes. “The result is a polluted environment in which diseases spread fast. An estimated 314 000 children under five die each year of diarrhoea illness which could be prevented with safe water, good sanitation and good hygiene.”

access to sanitation

“Many more have their physical and cognitive development stunted through repeated bouts of diarrhoea, blighting their life chances,” WaterAid maintained. The report found South Sudan – the world’s youngest country – to have the worst household access to sanitation in the world, followed closely by Niger, Togo and Madagascar. Some 42.5% of citizens in Swaziland, meanwhile, lacked access to safe, private toilets. However, since 1990, access had improved by nine percentage points, making it the eighteenth most improved out of 38 countries with measurable data in sub-Saharan Africa. Elsewhere in the region, 67.9% of Lesotho citizens lacked access to safe, private toilets, while Angola had seen the most improvement since 1990, followed closely by Rwanda and Ethiopia. Further north, Nigeria had seen a “dramatic” slide in the number of people with access to toilets since 1990. Among the report’s other findings, India, the world’s second-most populous country, held the record for the most people waiting for sanitation (774-million) and the most people per square kilometre (173) practising open defecation. The tiny South Pacific island of Tokelau had made the most progress on delivering sanitation since 1990, while Nepal, despite the “immense” challenges posed by its mountainous landscape, came in the top four in this category. “Just two months ago, we saw all the member States of the United Nations (UN) promise to deliver access to safe, private toilets to everyone everywhere by 2030. “Our analysis shows just how many nations in the world are failing to give sanitation the political prioritisation and financing required. We also know that swift progress is possible, from the impressive advances in sanitation achieved in nations like Nepal and Vietnam. “No matter where you are in the world, everyone has a right to a safe, private place to relieve themselves, and to live healthy and productive lives without the threat of illness from poor sanitation and hygiene. On this World Toilet Day, it’s time for the world to make good on the promises and understand that while we all love toilet humour, the state of the world’s sanitation is no joke,” commented WaterAid South Africa region head Robert Kampala. WorldAid was, specifically, calling for world leaders to fund, implement and account for progress towards the new UN Global Goals on sustainable development, ensuring water, sanitation and hygiene for all. It further called for the improvement in the state of the world’s toilets, with political prioritisation and long-term increases in financing for water, sanitation and hygiene, by both national governments and donor countries, such as the UK. It appealed for aid to be directed to where it was most needed, noting that many of the world’s poorest countries in need of aid for sanitation and hygiene were receiving the least amount of financial support as a result of them not meeting donors’ strategic priorities.

If you read this, you may have running water at home. But do you use it wisely? Do you realise you flush your toilet with drinking water, unless you recycle and make use of grey water. Be water wise and responsible – recycle.

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By Hélène van Wyk -  On 23 November 2015

The World Economic Forum’s ‘2015 Global Risk Report’ has named water crises the world’s greatest risk. The world is forecast to face a 40% shortfall in water supplies in 15 years, owing to population growth, urbanisation and increased demand for food production, energy and industry. Climate change also increases water-related risks. Ranked among the world’s 30 driest countries, South Africa is facing serious water challenges. Water infrastructure is agein‏g, technical skills are in short supply and demand patterns are shifting, while changing rainfall patterns are leading to inadequate supply in several areas. Vandalism and theft of public infrastructure, the non-payment of bills, wastage through a lack of maintenance, poor water services planning and prioritization at many municipalities, as well as increasing pollution, are further impacting on water supply.

Water Crises

Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others. This report draws from material published over the past 12 months and is a summary of other sources of information published in Engineering News and Mining Weekly, as well as of information available in the public domain. This report does not purport to provide an analysis of market trends.

Please refer to:

By Hélène van Wyk - On 6 November 2015

Drought is a nasty word - the same category as cancer, revolution, depression, recession, flood.

South Africa name more provinces as drought disaster areas.

See Engineering New’s article on this.

South Africa’s drought-hit northern Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces will be declared disaster areas for agriculture this week or next, an official said on Wednesday, a development that will make them eligible for emergency assistance from the National Treasury. Ben Kgakatsi, director of risk management in the department of agriculture, also told Reuters that the sugar-growing province of KwaZulu-Natal would soon be declared a disaster area for agriculture. The province has already been declared as such for general water supplies. “The assessments are being carried out and then they will submit their applications for disaster declarations to their premiers,” he said. The maize-growing Free State and North West provinces have already been designated disaster areas for agriculture as a blistering drought sucks moisture from the soil and dam levels fall, delaying the planting of crops for the crucial southern hemisphere summer season.


Mpumalanga has a diverse agricultural base, with maize grown in its west and big sugar farms in the sub-tropical east of the province. It is also the main source of coal production in South Africa, an industry that heavily relies on water. Limpopo is the heart of South Africa’s game ranching industry but also accounts for a third of the citrus crop in the world's second-biggest exporter of the fruits. Citrus farmers in the province already face water restrictions. South African cattle, sheep and goat farmers were urged by the government on Tuesday to cut the size of their herds as drought conditions scorch grazing land. The South African Weather Service said last week that an El Nino weather system, which was already forecast to bring drought conditions for much of the summer, now looks like it will extend into autumn next year.

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Please be pro-active and purchase a water tank.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 30 October 2015

The media is giving confusing messages - Rand Water say there is no crisis and water levels are stable. This is probably a measure to prevent panic. Grain farmers are also having a record harvest. We are grateful for all and any success stories. BUT please read this article from Engineering News and decide for yourself.

South Africa’s water woes are reaching a breaking point with the department of water and sanitation set to address the pressing matter on Sunday. Minister Nomvula Mokonyane will address the now burgeoning crisis that has depleted many municipalities and the agriculture sector since last year, Rand Water spokesperson Justice Mohale said. Mohale said in a statement that persistent high temperatures in Rand Water’s area of operation continued to strain its bulk water supply system in the country’s hub, Johannesburg. “The lack of rainfall in Gauteng is exacerbating the situation. The high water demand will cause localised problems in the City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. All consumers must use water responsibly and sparingly.” Other areas in the country have been hit harder, though. One of those is the iLembe District located north of Durban. Here residents have often been left without running water for up to three days at a time. Commenting on the now 50% supply restriction, iLembe mayor Welcome Mdabe said on a normal day, they supplied around 17-million litres of water. “But currently we can only supply nine million litres a day. As a district we are not in a position to open and shut water supply at certain times as this results in damage to equipment. Water supply will therefore be reduced. Some areas will receive water and some will not. Places on high ground will suffer mostly in the late evening when water usage is low,“ said Mdabe.

Department of water and sanitation

“Another hard hit municipality was the Harry Gwala District, which is supplied by the Ixopo Dam. The KZN MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Nomusa Dube-Ncube, has already had to intervene. Harry Gwala district has been in discussions with farmers upstream who have three dams to release immediately, but even with that plan it is necessary to implement water restrictions until the situation returns to normality,” said the MEC. “As KZN Cogta we maintain that the current drought crisis requires all citizens of the province to play their part in conserving water. It is everybody’s business and government and sector stakeholders cannot conserve it alone. The department has contingency plans to ensure that no resident will go without water, even when the taps begin to run dry” added Dube-Ncube. Umgeni Water corporate stakeholder manager, Shami Harichunder, said the water parastatal, which supplied much of KZN’s bulk water, understood the challenges but could not do much to assist. “We can only supply what we have. Until more rain comes through we will be left in this crisis. There has been national and provincial intervention in the form of funds but realistically, water is what we require to curb this. As usual we are urging consumers to please understand this crisis and be wary of [their] usage.

So, it is after all everybody’s business. It is our business to be pro-active and not wait for the water restrictions, water cut or drought. Then it is too late. Buy a water tank now and when the summer rain comes - harvest it.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 16 October 2015

It is October - the most beautiful month. In Pretoria we have jacarandas in abundance. We call it purple therapy. Yesterday we had a thunderstorm and some rain. Our gardens got some relief from the heat, and our moods lift - rain at last… after the official heat wave in some parts of the country.


Have a look at this article where the weather man is forecasting rain from August to December 2015 -

The good news is - the probability is that we will received average/above average rain. This means there is something to harvest - rain water. Please don’t take rain for granted.

Let’s all work together and respect our natural resources. Let’s harvest rain. And in the meantime - enjoy the purple all around.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 9 October 2015

It is good to see that government and private sector realise the importance of water management. An article in today’s Engineering News, mention the responsibility of private sector to pay attention to our country’s water risks, and opportunities. We often feel overwhelmed by something that is labelled a ‘global risk’. We feel, what can we do if the problem is already out of hand? Well, do what you can: Be mindful of water. Buy a water tank and harvest rain. Don’t waste water. Recycle. With risk, there is always opportunities…

Here is an excerpt from Engineering News, the title ‘Business Urged to Pay Attention to South Africa’s Water Risks - an Opportunities’.

Water is a crucial driver of the South African and world economy and, with demand exceeding supply globally, the World Economic Forum has ranked water as the third-most worrying global risk. As a consequence, water preservation - ranging from water recycling and infrastructure to innovation and policy - is being discussed across various economies and industry subsectors.


Highlighting the current fragile state of water in South Africa, University of the Free State professor and water expert Dr Anthony Turton notes that the current total rainfall for South Africa is 48-billion cubic metres a year, with 38-billion cubic metres available in dams. But water demand is expected to reach 63-billion cubic metres a year by 2035, which is forecast to be more than what the country can supply. Foreseeing a potential business risk, owing to the continuous increase in water demand, global risk consultancy firm Control Risk Southern Africa region account manager Rivaj Parbhu indicated at a recent Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) Forum that businesses needed to plan now for future water scarcity. “Businesses need to take water scarcity very seriously, as this will affect operations and the manufacturing sector,” he said, adding that government would also have to regulate water to solve the crisis - a change for which businesses should be prepared. Possible Interventions Turton pointed out during same forum that, although a water crisis was emerging in South Africa, solutions could be deployed to mitigate the crisis. “With many of the water catchment areas ruined by mining, the country would have to start recycling all its water if it is to survive this crisis. This would mean that water would need to be recycled 1.6 times by 2035 to have enough water for the country.”

With government having realised that 36.8% of water withdrawal is being lost through water leaks - referred to as nonrevenue water - in municipalities, interventions, such as the War on Water Leaks project, were launched earlier this year to reduce water loss. According to President Jacob Zuma, water loss has cost the country R7-billion a year. South African black-owned consulting engineering firm Gibb integrated infrastructure senior associate Jacques Laubscher said at the Gibs Forum that, in order to decrease water loss, it was necessary for industry and government to know whether the leaks were caused by limitations in resources or infrastructure capacity. Laubscher told Engineering News in August that water management and water systems were complex and required high-level skills and a sustained political environment from government structures to be effective. “Many smaller municipalities do not have access to skilled water professionals or they leave for better remuneration elsewhere. However, many of the water-quality and management challenges at these small municipalities are a direct result of a lack of access to skills and a lack of understanding of the demands of water management,” he noted. Consequently, the War on Water Leaks project intervention by government plans to train 15 000 artisans or plumbers nationally from 2015 to 2017 to reduce nonrevenue water losses. Additionally, during her 2015 Budget Vote speech, in May, Water and Sanitation Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said there was a need for a “water and sanitation revolution” to “reclaim and better manage our water”. The ‘revolution’ will be carried out through water conservation and demand management, improving the water mix and transformation. She indicated that water conservation and demand management would involve innovation and regulation to reclaim the water through initiatives that had been developed and were available for use.

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By Hélène van Wyk -  On 5 October 2015

We have been writing about the importance of rain harvesting, in order to urge our clients to be pro-active in our water scarce country. I was happy to read this article in Engineering News. Hopefully all can see: we need to be water wise, we need to be mindful of water. We need to make rain harvesting a priority in our homes and businesses, and according to this article, also in our municipalities.

Excerpt taken from Engineering News:
Harvesting rainwater can enable industrial companies with sufficient roof space to dramatically reduce their use of potable water for nonpotable applications, easing the strain on municipalities that have to provide ever-increasing volumes of potable water, says specialist precast concrete products manufacturer Rocla. The vast use of potable water in South Africa for applications where nonpotable water can be used is worrisome, with many water conservation groups and water engineering firms warning that the country, with its vast majority of arid regions, might soon face water shortages and, by implication, water restrictions. Water rationing has already been implemented in KwaZulu-Natal.

Rain Harvesting help Municipalities

Engineering consulting firm Gibb held a roundtable discussion about water resources last month, during which it suggested that water shortages constituted a looming problem for South Africa, owing to poorly maintained infrastructure resulting in water being wasted. However, harvesting and storing rainwater in concrete tanks can provide nonpotable, but suitable, water for applications such as washing garbage bins, watering gardens, flushing toilets and laundry services. Municipalities can also use harvested rainwater to water public parks, in street-sweeping applications and for firefighting. Some developed nations have embraced water harvesting, with significant benefits. The Australian city of Sydney harvests rainwater from the bulk of the city’s stormwater drainage network, storing the water in large dams and tanks for reuse. This makes the city more environment friendly as less water is wasted. In general, using harvested stormwater also eases the strain on existing infrastructure, such as treatment plants and pumps, and reduces maintenance, owing to lighter workloads or greater distribution of existing supply capacity. About 70 projects across the Sydney region are collecting and reusing stormwater. These projects collect more than 1.3-billion litres of water a year, equal to the amount of water contained in 520 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The uptake of Rocla’s rainwater-harvesting and attenuation solutions has received some support from industrial clients wanting to improve their green credentials. These clients are pursuing these measures on their own accord, with little to no pressure from government on industrial companies to install rainwater-harvesting or attenuation tanks. Municipal authorities do stipulate water attenuation requirements, but says that, in recent instances, the engineers and clients are keen to move away from attenuation dams and, alternatively, towards more elegant and effective systems.

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By Hélène van Wyk -  On 18 September 2015

They call it different names – carbon footprint, green footprint, eco footprint.
We should know what it means. Go to this website and see if your lifestyle is friendly towards the planet. Your Ecological Footprint

We also have a Water Footprint. Do you know how much water is needed for one hamburger? This article from Engineering News:

It is predicted that, in the next five years, water demand could outstrip supply in South Africa, says Nedbank Sustainability Carbon Specialist Dr Marco Lotz. With increasing population numbers and urbanisation, the debate regarding the amount of investment in water and the possibility of future water load- shedding is becoming more prominent. Lotz notes that South Africa receives less than half of the earth’s average amount of water, at 492 mm p/y, classifying South Africa as a water-stressed country. “Just like a carbon footprint, a water footprint is also incurred by everybody, as each product we buy or use has a water impact – for example, a hamburger utilises 2 400 litres of water to produce. We need to raise consumer awareness on the water footprint of each individual, which will hopefully result in people acting responsibly.”


Alien invasive plant-clearing projects will significantly assist in increasing the country’s available water, but these projects can unfortunately be very expensive and financially prohibitive for a single landowner to pursue. South Africa’s water infrastructure is also under pressure, as aging potable water infrastructure leads to a high percentage of water loss during water distribution. “The state of sewage plants is less than desirable and, unfortunately, frequently makes the news because of challenges such as poor maintenance,” he states. Silting in some dams also urgently need attention and maintenance to be able to keep storing water. He says an increase in the water price is one way to fund a lot of the water infrastructure requirements, but could lead to unforeseen consequences, as vulnerable communities could struggle to pay for water. He adds that South Africa has more people who require access to water, owing to its developmental needs, as more people migrate to urbanised parts of the country. Lotz says areas, such as Gauteng, need massive amounts of water to be pumped, owing to these areas being geographically elevated and their direct local supply not being able to keep up with demand. Without sufficient electricity supply, he notes, the limited amount of stored water will run out quickly. Information taken from Engineering News.

Kindly refer to this link:


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 11 September 2015

Engineering News gave us this feedback on the Minister of Water and Sanitation’s input during this year’s World Water Week in Sweden:

Department of Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has called for collective leadership in the efforts to manage water efficiently for sustainable development. Speaking at a high-level panel on Financing for development post-2015 during World Water Week that took place end of August in Stockholm, Sweden, Mokonyane emphasised the importance of political will in finding solutions to the challenges of poverty and under-development that confront the world.

Managing Water

She was joined by the Ministers responsible for water from Sweden, the Kingdom of Jordan, Peru, Spain and Tajikistan. Mokonyane highlighted progress made in placing issues of human development at the centre of the world agenda and drew the comparison that “twenty years ago, bilateral and multilateral relations among States were based on military cooperation and that today, states are cooperating more on issues of sustainable development; water, climate change and global warming”. She also made a call for integrated planning between government, the private sector and research organisations to ensure that there is a common vision pursued at state, regional, continent and global levels with differences in implementation to suit country challenges and circumstances. “Planning, innovation, partnerships and community mobilisation must be the pillars of our efforts to drive the agenda of water management and sanitation provision. There is a need for better coordination of resources,” said Mokonyane. World Water Week has brought together world Ministers, experts and business leaders to engage on the theme ‘Water for Development’ and the need to increase cooperation as the world begins to address the Sustainable Development Goals.

Edited by: SANews, SA government news service. Please follow this link,


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 4 September 2015

SA National Water Crisis

We believe this opinion by Musi Maimane is worth sharing.
Please share this with your friends.

Speaking during a visit to Illovo in Kwazulu-Natal as part of his national Vision 2029 tour‚ Maimane charged that the crisis was not only a climate problem‚ but a problem of governance.

“The burden of low rainfall is being exacerbated by poor maintenance‚ aging infrastructure and an intermittent energy supply‚” he stated‚ adding that South Africa had a constitution that guaranteed the right to water in the Bill of Rights but this right was being denied to millions of the country’s residents. The effect of this crisis had been felt deeply in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) where dams were only 35% full on average. Without rain‚ this supply would be depleted within two months‚ Maimane cautioned.

“In this province alone‚ an estimated 1 million people have been impacted by water shortages and water restrictions‚ while others have to walk tens of kilometres to source drinking water.”

“We have already seen the humanitarian impact of this‚ but we are increasingly seeing the agricultural and economic impact.”

“Without water for irrigation‚ sugar farmers are suffering and mills are closing. The result is job losses that we certainly cannot afford. In KZN‚ almost 40% of people are already unemployed – a rate well above the national average.” Maimane said the water crisis could not be allowed to go the way of the electricity crisis.

“We cannot afford national water load-shedding on top of electricity load-shedding. We need to take urgent action to prevent this looming disaster‚” he warned.

“On average we lose 37% of revenue from water due to physical leakage‚ commercial losses and any unbilled consumption. In many irrigation and municipal water supply schemes this figure can reach as high as 60%‚” he added.



By Hélène van Wyk -  On 28 August 2015

I randomly searched for and thought about reasons to harvest rain.

Here are just a few:

  1. It is good for the environment.
  2. You save money.
  3. You beat water restrictions.
  4. Add re-sale value to your property.
  5. Prevent flooding.
  6. Reduce run-off water and erosion.
  7. Good ethic towards environment.
  8. You can be self-sufficient.
  9. It is for free.
  10. It is easy.
  11. Reduce demand on ground water.
  12. Reduce demand on municipal water.
  13. Reduce your carbon footprint.
  14. Water is a precious resource.
  15. Water getting more expensive.
  16. It is water quality you can trust.
  17. Plants love rain water.
  18. It just makes sense!


These are just a few off the head reasons to harvest rain. At Sinvac Plastics we can provide you with expert advice with regards to rain harvesting. We have a team of experts who are waiting for your call. Call 012-386-6484 and ask for Freddy, Riaan or Zanele. Be pro-active. Harvest Rain. Buy a water tank today.

SA’ Water Treatment Works in Critical State

By Hélène van Wyk -  On 21 August 2015

Are we facing a water crisis? NO, WE HAVE A WATER CRISIS!
Rand Water is also on the brink of a strike, and this will definitely have immense effects on thousands of households.
Please be pro-active and do what you can while you can.
Get a water tank to harvest rain during the rainy season (that is for free).
Get a water tank to save up municipal water (while you still have it).
Also be mindful of water. Do not waste and do not think it will always be there.


Underneath is just one more aspect of the water problems we face in South Africa.

SA’s water treatment works are in a poor to critical state and monitoring water quality was also becoming an increasing problem.

These were among some of the issues the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research [CSIR] raised.

CSIR senior researcher specializing in water quality and aquatic ecology James Dabrowski said there were 8 000 different pesticide products registered in the country.

“The Department of Water Affairs is responsible for registering them, but does not look at how it will impact water quality. The water department has to try and figure out how to monitor and deal with those things,” he said. Monitoring the country’s water quality was also “an incredibly difficult task logistically”.

He said about half the country’s waste water treatment works were in a poor to critical state, due to infrastructure, capacity, and governance issues.

Due to urbanization, the treatment plants could not handle the volume of effluent.

“It’s an infrastructure problem that will need large amounts of money to sort out.”

Other problems related to the manner in which water was managed, with CSIR researchers saying that players in the water sector were responding to problems in a fragmented way.

One example of the fragmented response in dealing with problems like water pollution caused by farming was in the lack of integration between the departments of water affairs and agriculture.

Article taken from News 24 by Thomas Hartleb.

Water Shortages About to put Load-Shedding in the Dark

By Hélène van Wyk -  On 14 August 2015

When we cry out that water shedding is a reality, we do not just say it because we want to sell water tanks. We say it because it is a reality. Underneath is an extract from an article placed in Business Day Live, by Lorenzo Fioramenti.

WHILE load-shedding continues, there is an even more worrying prospect ahead: water-shedding. Like the energy crisis, the abysmal state of water in SA is a combination of at least three factors: resource depletion (and contamination), growing demand and inefficient infrastructure.

Rainfall levels are dropping quickly due to climate change. A recent study published by the World Economic Forum says droughts this century will become more recurrent and severe than in the previous millennium. We feel that already. Over the summer holidays, for instance, eThekwini municipality took the unprecedented decision of asking residents and holiday makers to drastically reduce water consumption to avoid systemic cutbacks, given that the Hazelmere Dam had reached dramatically low levels because of prolonged drought.

Water shedding a reality

Besides climate change, we also have a skewed economy that is out of touch with natural equilibrium: it demands more and more water to fuel economic growth, while wasting and contaminating what we have.

As we know, the mining industry bears a historical responsibility. Acid mine drainage, which occurs in gold and coal mines when rock chemistry generates sulphuric acid, can turn neutral water into a harmful and at times poisonous liquid.

According to a study published by the South African Journal of Science, the Olifants River catchment is already heavily affected by acid mine drainage. Besides the potential damage that fracking in the Karoo would have on aquifers, various forms of contamination have already affected the Hartbeespoort Dam and Umgeni River. Commercial agriculture, which is the largest user of water in SA, is notoriously inefficient in how it uses this resource for irrigation and other purposes.

Against such a backdrop, it has been predicted SA will face serious water shortages by 2020, but there are many signs the crisis is already with us. Last year, the Department of Water and Sanitation reported that 37% of our clean, drinkable water is being lost through leaking pipes, dripping taps and other infrastructure failures. According to some analysts, this is probably an optimistic estimate, with overall losses accounting for more than 50%.

The water crisis is a crucial symptom of a collective action problem or, as is often put in technical jargon, a governance failure. A society cannot address the water predicament unless there is a concerted effort involving different sectors and social actors. This is not something that should concern the Department of Water and Sanitation only, but the entire government, starting from the top, the Presidency and the key economic planner, the Treasury.

First of all, we need a different system of provision, which rewards efficient use. Smart water meters should replace the existing ones, and users who save water should be rewarded with lower tariffs and tax breaks. By contrast, large consumption should be discouraged through incremental pricing, while water loss should be punished. Rain and grey water harvesting should be mandatory. As monetary incentives are insufficient, other forms of “nudging” should also be adopted. For instance, billing systems that compare water consumption across households and businesses and invite users to compete with each other in order to reduce consumption have proven very effective in supporting the type of behavioral change we need. We also need to reform the social institutions that govern our relationship with water. Despite various incidents and the possibility of them happening again in the near future, the rules of my estate (and probably most estates) still discourage residents from harvesting rain or grey water, imposing restrictions based on fictitious parameters of aesthetic appearance.

Taken from article by Lorenzo Fioramenti
Fioramonti is professor of political economy and director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria.


By Hélène van Wyk - On 31 July 2015

Casual Day is around the corner: 4 September 2015

Sinvac Development Trust is facilitating a new home for Sabello Mthimkulu. Since our journey with Sabello began, we were made aware of the lives of people with disabilities. Normal lives - just a different kind of normal.

We are also in a process to help Sabello tell his story - so that other people can be inspired by him. Often when I am lazy to do some physical activity, I think - what will Sabello give to be able to have two arms and two legs?? Then pure guilt will get me going.

Casual Day 4 September 2015

With us going through the process of helping him to tell his story, we hear detail that amaze us. Here are two things he mentioned (small but magnificent): After his accident ten years ago, at the age of 14, he woke up in Muelmed Hospital - a different province with a different language. He grew up in KZN on a farm, and only knew Zulu. He had to learn English. We did not know that - we thought it was his mother tongue. Also, the fact that his right arm was amputated, and he had to adjust, not only with one arm, but now also being left handed.

Can we imagine that? Do we ever stop and think - I have two arms, two legs, I can see, I have a job, I can walk, run, bath myself, drive my car or jump on the bus or train. Do we thank God enough for this? Or do we only appreciate our health and other privileges once we’ve lost it?

May we never stop to have compassion with people. May we never stop to try and see with our hearts instead of our eyes. We all have stories to tell (facts are after all stranger than fiction). But some people’s circumstances are more challenging than others.

We also met Sabello’s aunt Winnie. She left her job in Cape Town, to come and take care of her late sister’s son in Gauteng. Winnie lives in a shack. A beautiful woman with a bright smile - despite her circumstances. What an amazing testimony…

Go to the Casual Day website and buy your stickers in advance


By Hélène van Wyk - On 24 July 2015

The first time I was confronted with the fact that we use drinking water to flush our toilets, I was amazed that it never before crossed my mind. I rationalize it by thinking it’s got to do with exposure. The fact is, that South Africa, a water scarce country, use drinking water to flush our toilets and water our gardens. This just doesn’t make sense! Like an article in Beeld on 19 July stated – it should be AGAINST THE LAW to flush your toilet with drinking water - YOU SHOULD GET FINED FOR THAT!!

Don't use drinking water for toilets

Here are some statistics to make us think…

  1. Eskom use 40 milliard litres of clean water per year to generate power.
  2. 24% of South Africa’ water are used for households.
  3. Due to a drought in Limpopo, there are 52 townships without water, since 2013.
  4. By 2017 the water in the Vaal River may have too high salt leverls, due to mine pollution.
  5. By 2025 South Africa may have a shortage of 234 milliard litres water per year.
  6. By 2050 the shortage may rise to 400 milliard litres per year.

Limited water supply

But water is also a global issue:

  1. In a year, people use almost half of all fresh water on the planet.
  2. In many places on earth, ground water is consumed quicker than it is supplemented.
  3. By 2050 approximately 3.9 milliard people will live in areas with severe water shortage.
  4. The need for water will increase by 55% by 2050.

So, what CAN we do?

  1. Harvest Rain (it is for free)
  2. Get Information on Grey Water Systems.
  3. Visit our brand new Online Shop, click here on Sinvac Plastics Online Shop


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 17 July 2015

According to an article in Beeld yesterday, the Harvesting of Rain is not only remunerative but also necessary. It is good to see that the media pays attention to water. We cannot emphasize it enough - If you run out of electricity, you use a generator. If you run out of water, you’re stuck.

The article in Beeld even talks about Water Tanks for the Water War. Although this is clever use of words, WAR is not something to talk about lightly. But we have heard this before - the next world war will be about water. So maybe we should pay attention:

Water Wars

South Africa is a water scarce country. Our annual rainfall is approximately 495 mm, while the world average is about 1033 mm. We also know that the Government is not going to fulfill its’ National Development Plan by 2035, due to water shortage. Please read again the summary of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) paper, called Parched Prospects (authored by Steve Hedden and Jakkie Cilliers.)

“South Africa is over-exploiting its freshwater resources and water could be a large constraint on the implementation of the National Development Plan. Using the International Futures forecasting system, this paper models and forecasts water demand and supply until 2035, the period covered by the National Water Resource Strategy 2013. The authors’ research finds that the gap between demand and supply increases and that the solutions proposed by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation will not close the gap without additional, aggressive measures. The authors propose such measures for each sector of demand and each source of water supply.”
(permission from prof Jakkie Cilliers)

Water Storage

The very positive thing about water, however, is that we CAN plan ahead. We DO get rain water for free. The tank IS going to put money back in your pocket. All you need to do, is purchase a water tank. At Sinvac Plastics you get good value at very competitive prices. Purchasing a tank is also an investment for the future. We have a wide variety of water tanks. From a 300 liter tank, that you can put on a table, up to a 10 000 liter for your house, farm or business.

Collecting Water

Let us do all we can to not waste water, to be wise and harvest water, to create a culture of having respect for our resources. We owe it to our children. We owe it to the world.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 3 July 2015

While Eskom is insistent that a total blackout is out of the question, a concerned group has launched a basic emergency guide to living in the dark.

No Electricity - NO Water

The plan offers practical tips on how households can prepare for the eventuality of being without Eskom electricity for up to two weeks, the period it would take for Eskom to turn the lights back on if there was a total blackout.

To be honest, I never realized that electricity and water supply are connected. Municipalities use electricity to pump water to reservoirs. The implication of this, is that, in case of a total power cut, households and businesses will be out of water within a couple of days.

Although this picture sounds rather daunting, the good news, is that we can be pro-active.

Although we can not save up electricity, we CAN SAVE WATER.

One person needs 40 litres per day for wash and drink purposes.

A household of 4 will need 160 liters per day.

If we get a total Eskom power outage, this household will need 2240 litres of water in order to be prepared for an outage of two weeks.

GOOD NEWS – we can provide you with a variety of tanks to suit your specific needs.

For the complete emergency plan, go to


By Sabelo Mthimkhulu; On 26 June 2015

The challenges I come across each and every day: I wake up at 5:00 am, I cannot bath myself they bath me for 30 to 45 minutes and put me in the wheelchair because by 6:00 I should be done as we are many at “Phyllis Robertson Home”, the home for disabled persons, where I live.

We all should have waked up at 7:00 am because at 7:30 it’s time for us to have breakfast. Sometimes I do eat, but sometimes I don’t eat because of my stomach condition. When I eat food that is not good for my stomach I get a problem when I’m in class my stomach can work in class - then I will have to go back home to clean myself, that is why some days I don&srquo;t eat.

Sabello’s Condition at School

After I finish breakfast I then go to school. I am doing Office Administration. I am currently doing my second year at EDUsa College.

Sabelo at School - EDUSA

I go to school by my wheelchair. But if it is raining I don’t go to school. YES there is a transport at Phyllis Robertson where I live, but it takes too long to get me into a car. So I take 45 minutes to get to school, and sometimes I get late to school because of traffic. I drive my wheelchair on the road where cars go, I cross robots and I sometimes get afraid to cross. I am scared of taxi drivers - that is why I sometimes get late at school.

I was hit by a Taxi driver last year while I was crossing the robots to school and my wheelchair was broken then but by God’s grace I didn’t get too hurt. At school I am the only one who is using a wheelchair. My first day at school was hard for me, especially for them to understand me and my disability. But as time goes by, my class mates and lecturers they got used to my condition.

Now they even assist me when I get in to the class by moving chairs and prepare my table.

It is challenging at school, because it is difficult for me to write. We are currently writing June 2015 exams. I am always left behind because I write slowly. I sometimes leave without finishing it or sometimes I request some extra time but still I am slow because of my condition. At school I write by myself I don’t have assistance and I do my best as I can with my left hand. Before my accident I was right handed, now I must write with my left hand.

But, when I wake up I always tell myself that I am also a human being I should work hard as normal persons “EVERY DAY IS THE BRAND NEW DAY WITH PURPOSE”


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 19 June 2015

South Africans can choose between the pain of higher electricity prices to pay for Eskom’s diesel, or power cuts and damage to the economy.

Save Electricity - Save Water

Acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe argued on Wednesday that the pain of people paying more was far less than the damage power cuts would cause to the economy.

“If we don’t have the diesel, then we go into load shedding sooner and it will be more severe,” he said, following a briefing on the state of the country’s power system.

The power utility was spending about R1.5bn a month on diesel to power its open cycle gas turbines, and needed billions more to keep them running.

Included in its latest request to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa for a 24.7% electricity tariff hike was the need for R10.9bn to buy diesel for the gas turbines. The diesel purchases made up 6.4% of the proposed 24.7% increase.



Well, for most of the day we have been without power at our office and our factory … . And we were not given a choice between the two severe options given by Mr Molefe. We do not have power, because of cable theft. At least this time round our telephone lines are working. Thanks to our generator, we can work on our computers, but that is about it. We cannot print, we sit in darkness, and we cannot boil water, so we are cold and thirsty. Worst of all - our factory is out of production.

Our country is really in a bad state with regards to power supply. Let’s trust that our water resources will never get to the point of water shedding. We can use electricity economically, but we cannot save it up in a container. We can save water in a water tank. Ever considered that? Maybe winter is a good time to prepare for harvesting rain during summer.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 12 June 2015

World Water Day 2015

Take note of these United Nations figures on the increase of water demand in the manufacturing industry.

More water is used to manufacture a car than to fill a swimming pool.

Every manufactured product requires water. Some industries are more water-intense than others.

Water is Industry

Industrialization can drive development by increasing productivity, jobs and income. It can provide opportunities for gender equality and youth employment. However, industry’s priority is to maximize production rather than water efficiency and conservation.

Global water demand for manufacturing is expected to increase by 400% from 2000 to 2050, which is much larger than other sectors. The main increases will be in emerging economies and developing countries. Many large corporations have made considerable progress in evaluating and reducing their water use and that of their supply chains. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are faced with similar water challenges on a smaller scale.

See more at

Each country and each industry has unique challenges in terms of their water resources – or the lack thereof. As individuals we cannot solve the global water crisis. But we can on a small scale harvest rain water and be aware of the fact that South Africa is a water poor country. If everyone is mindful of this, it may just make a difference.

We owe this to our children.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 5 June 2015

Some time ago we reminisced about what the meaning of Custodian is. So, when I read in AfriForum’s weekly Newsletter about our Government being the custodian of our water resources, but NOT acting responsibly, I realized what a sad state of affairs it is. A custodian should make you feel safe. We are our children’s custodians. Once they start legal action against us because we don’t take care of them, something is wrong, Right?

So, since our custodians are irresponsible custodians, we need to do what we can to compensate for lack of responsibility on their side.


Underneath is the Newsletter from Afriforum.

AfriForum sent letters of demand to three Metropolitan Municipalities, demanding them to stop the pollution of the Kalkspruit and Hennops River before 22 June 2015.

“The river is severely polluted and the aquatic ecosystem is basically non-existent. Through various complaints from the public about this nuisance and the possible health threats it can incur, AfriForum received the mandate to take action against the responsible authorities,” said Julius Kleynhans, AfriForum’s Head of Environmental Affairs.

Stop the water pollution

The civil rights organisation said that the main sources of pollution occur in the areas of Ivory Park, Tembisa, Olifantsfontein and Erasmia via overflowing manholes, lack of sanitation facilities and maintenance and waste water treatment works not complying with legal limits.

AfriForum also demanded the Department of Water and Sanitation to take action against the culprits.

“The continuous pollution of the watercourse is criminal. The government is the custodian and regulator of water resources and it must protect our constitutional rights and ensure the health and safety of all the people and our environment,” added Kleynhans.

AfriForum gathered water samples from the Hennops River and according to the results, more than 1,000,000 units of E.Coli per 100ml are present in the water. However, the norm in an aquatic environment should be less than 200 units per 100ml to ensure a healthy ecosystem.

“The water quality of the Hennops River is currently on the same level as raw sewage,” said Tarien Cooks, AfriForum’s Provincial Coordinator for Gauteng North.

“Various directive letters have been sent by the Department of Water Affairs, but they were simply ignored by some of the Metros. The pollution of a water resource threatens the resource, ecosystem and the health of anyone who comes in contact with the water,” concluded Cooks.

To add your name to the complaint, SMS “Hennops” to 45354 (R1).


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 28 May 2015

The right to sufficient water is a basic Human Right. Right? Well, maybe we should have a look at what is happening in Blyvooruitzicht. If we only rely on the Local Municipality for water, we may run into trouble.

Underneath is an article by AfriForum, stating the current state of affairs in this community, where five schools and an orphanage are left without water.

Harvest Water

The civil rights organisation AfriForum demanded on Tuesday, 26 May that the Merafong Local Municipality provide sufficient water to the Blyvooruitzicht community in Gauteng.

“The community has the right to sufficient water and the protection of their dignity. It is unacceptable that five schools and an orphanage are left with no water. Merafong must restore the water supply to ensure that the rights and health of the children and people of Blyvooruitzicht are protected,” said Ivan Herselman, AfriForum’s Head of Local Government Affairs.

Allegedly the community has been without water for almost two weeks.

“A local church is helping the people with water, but due to financial constraints, they are struggling to address all the needs. The community is carrying the burden of a previous mining company who owes the Municipality money. However, it’s no excuse to withhold the basic rights from this community,” added Herselman.

AfriForum served Merafong with a letter of demand, calling the Municipality to action.

“If the water is not restored within 24 hours of receipt of this letter, we will approach the courts to obtain an interim interdict to force the Municipality to apply its duties,” concluded Herselman.





By Hélène van Wyk -  On 22 May 2015
World Water Day 2015

I so liked the UN World Water Day Campaign and Website, that I want to continue with the themes given by them. This week we look at the impact of Urbanization on Water.

Every week, one million people move into cities

Today, one in two people on the planet live in a city. And the world’s cities are growing at an exceptional rate - 4 people moved to cities in the time it took you to read this sentence. 93% of the urbanization occurs in poor or developing countries, and nearly 40% of the world’s urban expansion is growing slums. Projections show that another 2.5 billion people will move to urban centres by 2050.

Water is urbanization

The 2014 report of “World Urbanization Prospects” notes that the largest urban growth will take place in India, China and Nigeria.

Thousands of kilometres of pipes make up each city’s water infrastructure. Many antiquated systems waste more freshwater than they deliver. In many fast-growing cities (small and medium-sized cities with populations of less than 500,000), waste-water infrastructure is non-existent, inadequate or outdated.

See more at

This just once again makes us realize the responsibility we have to harvest water, to teach our children not to waste and to get educated with regards to the use of grey water. South Africa is a water poor country, and we need the commitment from every citizen in order to use our resources in a responsible manner.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 15 May 2015

Once in a while we get news worth smiling about. Earlier this week Afriforum gave us their report on the quality of our drinking water, and that was really good news. Underneath is a summary of their findings.

Trust will brighten up your day.

AfriForum has released its blue and green drop reports for this year‚ and their findings show that improvements have been made regarding the quality of South Africa’s water infrastructure.


The civil rights organisation tested the drinking water quality in 132 towns across the country and found that only five municipalities did not comply with quality standards.

This‚ AfriForum’s head of environmental affairs Julius Kleynhans said‚ was a marked improvement over last year when there were 11 non-compliant municipalities.

The five are: Molento in the Eastern Cape‚ Stella in the North West‚ Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal‚ Coligny in the North West and Tarkastad in the Eastern Cape.

These communities were informed by AfriForum not to drink the water and the municipalities were put on notice.

Follow-up samples indicated that the water was clean.

The tests were made in towns where AfriForum had a presence‚ said Kleynhans.

“It is incredible to see organised communities taking responsibility and standing up for their rights and monitoring the quality of the water provided by their municipalities‚” said Kleynhans.

He said that his organisation had approached municipalities that had poor quality drinking water and through the threat of legal action had seen water quality being improved within 24 hours.

AfriForum found that Blomhof in the North West‚ which last year was where three babies died from drinking contaminated water‚ now had clean water.

AfriForum’s green drop report‚ which tested water at sewage plants‚ had results that were less positive.

Kleynhans said they tested 58 sewage water systems‚ of which 26 did not comply with quality standards. He said that most municipalities denied them access to sample the waste water.

“However‚ we have seen significant improvement in access control to these sites‚ and 15 sewage systems have improved dramatically‚ complying with quality standards on the dates tested‚” Kleynhans said.

The province to show the best improvement over last year was Limpopo; the worst performer was the Free State.

RDM News Wire, The Times


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 11 May 2015

Don’t you just love to watch children play?

We can learn a lot from their creativity, but they also need our input - we need to create places and spaces for them to play.

At Sinvac we are very excited about our colourful play pits. It comes in two different sizes - a 500 liter and a 1500 liter capacity.

Play Pits

You can even fill it with water harvested from the roof, and turn it into a little swimming pool. Do you remember the blow-up swimming pool? But only until it gets a puncture, and there goes your swimming pool.

Our tubs are made of LDPE material and has a UV protection of 7 to 10 years.

Contact Sinvac Plastics for a quote on our play pits.

WATER IS NATURE: Ecosystems lie at the heart of global water cycles

By Hélène van Wyk -  On 30 April 2015

World Water Day 2015

Long weekends hopefully bring us closer to nature.

Don’t you just love autumn?

We are happy to have in between seasons in Pretoria. While spending time outside, please take care of your parks and streams and nature in general. Remember to use water sparingly and harvest water whenever you can. We are not a water rich country. Please treat nature with respect…

Let’s Once again see what the UN teaches us about WATER:
Water is all of the following:

  1. Health / Life
  2. Nature
  3. Urbanization
  4. Industry
  5. Energy
  6. Food
  7. Equality

Ecosystems - including forests, wetlands and grassland - lie at the heart of the global water cycle. All freshwater ultimately depends on the continued healthy functioning of ecosystems, and recognizing the water cycle is essential to achieving sustainable water management. Yet most economic models do not value the essential services provided by freshwater ecosystems. This leads to unsustainable use of water resources and ecosystem degradation. For example, the Okavango River in Africa is one of the last unspoilt ecosystems on earth. Pollution from untreated residential and industrial waste-water and agricultural run-off also weakens the capacity of ecosystem to provide water-related services.

Freshwater Ecosystem

There is a need to shift towards environmentally sustainable economic policies that take account of the interconnection between ecological systems. One challenge is to maintain a beneficial mix between built and natural infrastructure and provision of their respective services.

Economic arguments can make the preservation of ecosystems relevant to decision-makers and planners. Ecosystem valuation demonstrates that benefits far exceed costs of water-related investments in ecosystem conservation. Valuation is also important in assessing trade-offs in ecosystem conservation, and can be used to better inform development plans. Adoption of ‘ecosystem-based management’ is key to ensuring water long-term sustainability.

Sinvac Plastics has a variety of water tanks for rain harvesting.

Contact Freddy or Riaan at 012-386-6484


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 24 April 2015

We just had a visit from 8 enthusiastic students from TUKS.

We are doing a community project with them in the community of Makonyana, near Winterveldt. Sinvac will provide three 5000 liter water tanks, plus material and input from Tiaan as project leader. The TUKS students will do the installation.

Tiaan, our mechanical engineer, started working at Sinvac last year, and will be the project leader. He did the same Community based Project-module, and can easily relate to the students.

EBIT stands for Engineering, Building and IT. Students must nowadays do a compulsory course in community service. What we should teach our children at home and in the church, they now learn at university. But, come to think of it, often people want to get involved in the community, but do not know where to channel their good intensions.

It is also good for students of all backgrounds to get exposure to a variety of less fortunate people in a variety of difficult circumstances.

We are now eagerly waiting for the student’s feedback, since they need to visit the three sites, in order to give us the information we need to proceed with the project.

This is not Sinvac Plastics Development Trust’s first visit to Winterveldt. We did a large project, where we installed complete rain harvesting systems at 42 houses. Wonderful to see how a community can change - from having no water, to having access to water. Please read more about our Development Trust at


Winterveldt before rain harvesting

Watch this space for updates on our Makonyana project.


By Sabelo Mthimkhulu; On 17 April 2015

I have started to work at Sinvac Plastics on 4 June 2014. I was so happy when they offered me this job because it was my dream to see myself working to any particular company to prove people wrong. When we live with a disability our lives end up inside our rooms, or at the back of our place waiting for the sun to rise and set. When I got this opportunity to work at Sinvac Plastics I took it seriously with both my hands, and I tried all my best to impress my boss, my colleagues and of course myself.

The 4th of June was a scary day. I was so shy but also confident about myself - they taught me so many things such as how to produce a WATER TANK and all those plastic products - it was so interesting. Although it was not a good environment for me because of the plastic material smell, it was not good for my condition as a person who lives with my disability, but I spent some couple of months in the workshop area. Later they moved me to the office area.

Sabelo's Journey

On my first day in the office I also have to meet the new colleagues. I was once again very shy, but by the grace of God I got over it. I was introduced to each and every member in the office. I learnt each and everyone’s position and they taught me a lot. I am currently assisting in marketing, helping Hélène van Wyk. She is the one who gives me work when I come to the office in the morning. Hélène and I we have a great relationship - we co-operate very well no matter how hard her day is, but she always try her best to be friendly to me as her colleague.

Sabelo in the Office

Since I have been in this company I have been receiving a good treatment from Management, Transport Drivers and of course my colleagues. When I started working here I used to work only Wednesdays, each and every week. I did not have a problem with it (as we know the Bible says Accepts the Little you Get.) But then, by the grace of God my boss add another day which is Friday - I was so grateful for that as I enjoy my job.

To work with normal people as my colleagues is hard, because since this company was established they had never had a person who lives with a disability. But I tried my best to teach them how to handle my condition, especially when I have to travel from work to my place - how they should hold me, because I can’t work and I cannot get in the car by myself. So I report each and everything that gives me discomfort, and they act as good as they can.

I would like to thank Kobus and of course Loodjie for believing in me to pick me up, and to put me where I am today. I am now able to support my grandmother and myself as we know it’s hard being independent while you live in my condition. Also the support she have been giving me I really appreciate it.

To Have a Disability Does not mean You Do Not Have Ability
Sabelo Mthimkhulu


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 10 April 2015

I received a very encouraging whatsapp from a friend of mine.

She recently decided to buy into the idea of rain harvesting. She bought a couple of Slimlines and put one in each and every corner of her garden where the gutters allowed for rain harvesting.

Their estate in the east of Pretoria was without water the complete Easter weekend. My friend had a house full of guests, but due to her Slimlines, there was no embarrassment.

Come to think of it -  if the power is cut, you can braai or light a candle. But once the taps run dry and you did not plan in advance, you’re stuck.

We have a variety of water tanks -  different sizes and colour of your choice. Riaan Hurn recently started working with us, and he has 18 years’ experience in water harvesting, irrigation and emergency water solutions. He’s your man!

We are also fortunate to still receive late summer rains, so make use of the last of the summer rains to harvest.

We would love to hear about your experience with regards to water cuts and tanks full of water.

Water Harvesting


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 27 March 2015

World Water Day 2015

Let’s continue with the UN’s theme of what water is all about.

Why do they say Water is Health?

Water is essential to human health. The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. Water is essential to our survival. Regular hand washing, is for example one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. Up to one trillion germs can live in one gram of poop.

As for the human body, in average it is made of 50 - 65% water. Babies have the highest percentage of water; new-borns are 78% water. Every day, every person needs access to water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene. Water is essential for sanitation facilities that do not compromise health or dignity. The World Health Organization recommends 7.5 litres per capita per day. This will meet the requirements of most people under most conditions. A higher quantity of about 20 liters per capita per day will take care of basic hygiene needs and basic food hygiene.

Despite impressive gains made over the last decade, 748 million people do not have access to an improved source of drinking water and 2.5 billion do not use an improved sanitation facility.

See more at

Water is Heatlh

We need to think differently about water.

We need to know it is scarce - if there is no power, we can make a plan.

BUT, if we run out of water, we are stuck.

The LEAST we can do is to harvest rain water.

See the variety of tanks available from Sinvac Plastics.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 20 March 2015

A day to celebrate, a day to change, a day to prepare.

World Water Day 2015

World Water Day is marked on 22 March every year. It’s a day to celebrate water. It’s a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day. 22 years later, World Water Day is celebrated around the world shining the spotlight on a different issue every year. This issue is also the theme of the annual UN World Water Development Report which is launched on World Water Day.

In 2015, the theme for World Water Day is ‘Water and Sustainable Development’. It’s about how water links to all areas we need to consider to create the future we want.

Role of Water in Industry

These are the pointers given by the UN, for us to realize the roll of water in all the aspects of our lives.

  1. Water is Life: Clean hands can save your life.
  2. Water is Nature:Ecosystems lie at the heart of the global water cycle.
  3. Water is Urbanization: Every week one million people move to cities.
  4. Water is Industry: More water is used to manufacture a car, than to fill a swimming pool
  5. Water is Energy: Water and energy are inseparable friends.
  6. Water is Food: To produce two steaks, you need 15,000 litres of water.
  7. Water is Equality: Every day women spend millions of hours carrying water.

Visit this website for more information and inspiration.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 13 March 2015

Have you realized how beautiful the days are - slowly but surely turning from high summer to beginning of autumn?

The sky is so blue and the leaves are starting to dry.

How wonderful it is to live in a country with four definite seasons. In Pretoria we only seldom experience extreme temperatures. Most of the year the temperature is mild.

And then of course it is darker when you get up the mornings, which has its own appeal (if you allow it) - having your first cup of coffee at dawn.And somehow with the change of season, we once again get aware of nature, the beauty thereof and our responsibility.


Here are some Tips on How to Reduce Water Consumption

  1. Turn-off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving or soaping hands..
  2. Take shorter showers and use less water if you bath.
  3. Avoid buying bottled water.
  4. Sweep outside areas instead of hosing with water.
  5. Use eco-friendly soaps and cleaning products.
  6. Fix leaks at home & report public water leaks to the Municipality.
  7. Always use a plugged-sink or bowl instead of a running tap.
  8. Insulate hot water pipes to reduce time waiting for water to heat up.
  9. Install aerators and flow-reducing valves on your taps.
  10. Install water saving devices on taps, toilets, showers & sprinklers.
  11. Install a water meter and monitor your use.
  12. Install an instant water heater at your taps for immediate hot water.

Enjoy the change of the season!


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 6 March 2015

Today we had a celebration. Sabelo turned 24. But we celebrated more than just his birthday. It has been 10 years since he lost his right arm in an accident, and 10 years in a wheel chair. So what is there to celebrate about THAT?

Well, Sabelo is no ordinary man. He has a 10 year plan for his life. And we know he will achieve his goals. He inspires all of us. He is always positive and grateful.

And that is why we are celebrating. Sabelo wants to become a DJ and a motivation speaker. But after his speech, we all said - you are already a motivational speaker.

So, Sabelo, from all of us - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, we look forward to see what you are going to achieve in life.

Sabelo Birthday Celebrations

  1. Sabelo the Researcher in front of his computer.(above)
  2. Joanita presenting the ice cream cake with his name and picture on.(above)
  3. Miriam, Josephine and Magdaleen singing and dancing - and the rest following.(above)
  4. Sabelo the motivational speaker.(below)
  5. Pastor George read from Psalm 8 and prayed before we all had a lovely lunch.(below)
  6. Silas and Sabelo. Silas fetches Sabelo twice a week from Phylis Robertson and settles him in with lots of patience.(below)

Sabelo the Motivational Speaker

What a privilege it is to know people who inspire in spite of their circumstances.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 27 Febuary 2015

I prepared a brochure, adding some information about our sister companies as well. And then I once again realized what a competitive advantage we have - Plastics, Pipes, Mining and Engineering.

Man oh man, we can really deliver - a complete, professional product and service.

Go to our websites and see for yourself.


Sinvac Plastics Logo

CONE VIRUS - Artwork by Gordon Fraud, made from Sinvac barriers


Sinvac Piping Logo


Sinvac Mining Logo


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 20 Febuary 2015

Remember long ago the Government got Cuban Doctors to come and help with medical services in South Africa. Well, now the Government is asking Cuban Engineers to help with our water crisis. Do we really need that? Can we afford them? Do we not have enough expertise in our country?

Water in South Africa

AfriForum says the appointment of foreign engineers and water specialists is a slap in the face of South Africans. This, after the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, welcomed 35 Cuban engineers to South Africa who will, over two years, increase the skills capacity in the water sector and help address the water infrastructure challenges of the country.

“We boast South Africans who are experts and who have years of experience in the water industry, who constructed and managed the water infrastructure effectively throughout the country. It is unacceptable that the custodian of our water makes political decisions like this, excluding South African candidates from critical positions that need to be occupied sustainably,” Julius Kleynhans, Head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum, said.

“Our water facilities are deteriorating due to the incompetence of current water management, procurement policies and regulation. We need to make use of our own specialists who know our systems. They must be the mentors and leaders for young local engineers. Water is such a critical resource and we need to manage it responsibly.”

Please manage your property’s water responsibly. Do not waste water, and harvest wherever possible.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 13 Febuary 2015

The sad events in Parliament last night, is on everyone’s lips today. If it was not so serious it could have been entertaining.

Let’s try and focus on a few key points worth mentioning:

  1. Growth of 5% by 2019 will probably not be reached due to slow World Growth.
  2. Unemployment decreased.
  3. Energy constraints is a major issue, and overcoming the problem is of utmost importance. Improve maintenance, enhancing generating capacity, and managing current production. Government will give about R23bn in the next Fiscal year to Eskom. Eskom will switch from Diesel to Gas because it is cheaper. Renewable energy are being sources to add to the grid. The Shale Gas in the Karoo will be a big game changer for the country. Nuclear energy deals are under way between SA and 5 countries, and the best one will be accepted.
  4. Infrastructure support will be given to specific municipalities.
  5. Copper cable and metal theft must be dealt with.
  6. Land claims will continue. There will be no Willing buyer-Willing seller policy.
  7. Support to the Manufacturing sector will be increased.
  8. Revise Visa regulation.
  9. National minimum wage will be introduced
  10. Mining towns are supported in a number of ways to help them be sustainable.
  11. Broadband will be rolled out in 8 Municipalities supported by Telkom.
  12. SAA will be a key point of discussion and needs to be managed properly.
  13. Water is of utmost importance and projects are under way to increase the water availability to those who are currently without it.
  14. The country loses R7bn per year due to water wastage.
  15. R9bn will be spent on Road maintenance.
  16. Improve infrastructure in Higher Education.
  17. 92 Schools have been opened, and another 108 are under construction.
  18. 342 schools have received water for the 1st time.
  19. 12 new technical and vocational campuses.
  20. 3 New Universities.
  21. 50 000 new RDP houses built in the last year.
  22. This year, massive focus on Tuberculosis.
  23. Public Servants cannot do business with the State.
  24. Rhino poaching measures include enhancing protection and working with neighbouring countrie.
  25. New Smart ID can now be obtained from your Bank.
  26. BRICS continue to work together.
  27. We have a valuable relationship with Europe.
  28. We are in total support of the Proteas and the Springboks as we head to the respective World Cups this year.

Save Water

If water is part of the State of the Nation Address, it definitely is a point of concern to the whole country. Please take note of the figures in terms of water wastage. Please be wise – we cannot wait for the government to come up with a water plan. We need to make these plans ourselves. Be water wise. Harvest water. Save water. Teach your children the value of water.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 6 February 2015

If we think load shedding has an impact on our lives and economy, wait till the taps run dry, and we do not have back-up water systems. By now we know how to manage without electricity at home (we have fun by candle light and braai.) But it is not going to be fun when the taps run dry. Read here what load shedding does to our water security…


Eskom’s electricity woes have hastened the failure of water infrastructure around the country.
For many South Africans, the water crisis is already here. For others, research and projections show, it is only a matter of time – and perhaps not a great deal of time.

Thanks to load-shedding, and a shortage of water when electricity is restricted, the thirsty future could arrive in major urban centres as soon as this summer.

These are no longer isolated cases. According to government officials, about a third of all towns are in some form of serious water distress. The department of water considers one in 10 municipal water systems to be totally dysfunctional, and, of those that are working, a quarter experiences regular service disruptions of more than two days at a time.

In Johannesburg, water shortages in 2014 were caused by electricity failure to a key pumping station, which in turn was linked to cable theft.

With Eskom warning that there will be regular load-shedding for the rest of the summer, and unable to deliver consistent power for several more years, water engineers are trying to work out how to manage shortages. Meagre reserve margins.

In many areas, water systems have either little or very meagre reserve margins. Electricity outages at pumps that move raw water could leave treatment stations without water. And, without treated water to move, pumps responsible for distribution would be idle when they do get electricity.

These two factors – local incompetence and a national electricity shortage – will have the biggest impact on what, if anything, comes out of the taps for the next several years.

But, within the next decade, two other fundamental issues are likely to make themselves felt – problems that no amount of local governing excellence or electricity will solve.

For one, there is simply not enough water left to go around.

Information taken from Mail and Guardian 23 January 2015


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 30 January 2015

I just love new beginnings.
A new year is always a great time for new plans and resolutions.
But also a time to count our blessings.
We all know about the bad, but let’s for once focus on the good things in our beautiful country.

Miss World Miss South Africa

  1. Miss World belongs to us!
  2. Petrol price is down.
  3. We can drink water from taps.
  4. There is still water in taps.
  5. We are allowed to go to a church of our choice.
  6. There are still some good schools.
  7. In Pretoria beautiful bus lanes were built.
  8. We have a Gautrain.
  9. We have a variety of Radio Stations.
  10. We have lots of sunshine.
  11. Recently we received a lot of rain.
  12. We live in an age with technology – we can easily talk to our loved ones anywhere in the world.
  13. Nowhere else in the world can they braai the way we do.

South African Braai

We do however also have a responsibility towards the land we live on and the country we live in. We need to take care of our natural resources. Winter is around the corner. Please be responsible and harvest rain, and add to your blessings.

Go to this website link and see 50 interesting facts about South Africa I bet you did not know.
LINK with Interesting Facts about South Africa

Proudly South African


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 23 January 2015

I am still amazed at how readily available valuable information is.

All kinds of statistics are published regularly, and all we need to do, is keep our ears and eyes open, Google the latest statistics on whatever information available from some kind of International Task Group, and you should be well informed. But is that enough??

Is it enough to hear and read info, and not act on it? Well, some information we cannot really do a lot about, eg. Natural catastrophes, or Failure of National Governance.

But then there are issues that need more than our attention. It needs our action. Spot with me the issues we can act upon, and by acting on it, can prevent national or global catastrophes.

Act on it

This is an extract from the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report, which was published on 15 January 2015.


  1. Interstate Conflict
  2. Extreme Weather Events
  3. Failure of National Governance
  4. State Collapse or Crisis
  5. Unemployment or Underemployment
  6. Natural Catastrophes
  7. Failure of Climate-Change Adaptation
  8. Water Crises
  9. Data Fraud or Theft
  10. Cyber Attacks


  1. Water Crisis
  2. Spread of Infectious Diseases
  3. Weapons of Mass Destruction
  4. Interstate Conflict
  5. Failure of Climate-Change Adaptation
  6. Energy Price Shock
  7. Critical Information Infrastructure Breakdown
  8. Fiscal Crises
  9. Unemployment or Underemployment
  10. Biodiversity Loss and Ecosystem Collapse

Let us not be guilty of failing our children and their children, by neglecting the planet. Water is right up there – . The number 1 risk in terms of impact.

ACT NOW AND ACT WISELY. Invest in a Rain Harvesting System.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 16 January 2015

I was Googling waste management and got to Wikipedia’s definition of what it means. (It seams as if Wiki is the modern day Oxford dictionary).

Waste management is the “generation, prevention, characterization, monitoring, treatment, handling, reuse and residual disposition of solid wastes”. There are various types of solid waste including municipal (residential, institutional, commercial), agricultural, and special (health care, household hazardous wastes, sewage sludge). The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics.

Well, this is quite a mouthful, so rather just look at the picture of waste management elsewhere in the world and get a sense of what it should NOT look like:

Waste Management in Kathmandu Image showing Waste Management in Kathmandu

Since we care about the environment, we designed a waste bin that is enviro-friendly.

We call it the Enviro-Bin:
Sinvac Enviro Bin

  1. Aesthetically pleasing bin to help keep your environment clean
  2. Easy to maintain as it contains a removable inner
  3. Secure – contains cement block of 35 kgs so that it is not easy to be stolen
  4. Four sides on which advertisements can be placed to earn an income – the E-Bin pays for itself
  5. Can be manufactured in a variety of colours
  6. Low maintenance – plastic cannot rust or bend as conventional metal bins do
  7. Removable inner replaces the need for plastic bags
  8. 400 litre capacity

Let’s all keep the environment clean and not end up looking like Kathmandu…


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 9 January 2015

Sinvac Plastic’s Team is back at the office and looking forward to the New Year.

May your’s be blessed and prosperous.

Here are all sorts of water quotes - to remind us of the importance and impact of water through the centuries.


Water is Precious

Our world is one of terrible contradictions. Plenty of food, but one billion people go hungry. Lavish lifestyles for a few, but poverty for too many others. Huge advances in medicine while mothers die every day in childbirth, and children die every day from drinking dirty water. Billions spent on weapons to kill people instead of keeping them safe.
Ban Ki-moon

Water is the driving force of all nature.
Leonardo da Vinci

All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
John Lubbock

Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.
Jacques Yves Cousteau

No water, no life. No blue, no green.
Sylvia Earle

Don't be a fish; be a frog. Swim in the water and jump when you hit ground.
Kim Young-ha

Water is to me, I confess, a phenomenon which continually awakens new feelings of wonder as often as I view it.
Michael Faraday

Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.
Mark Twain

The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one - seventh of its bulk above water.
Sigmund Freud

Flattery is like cologne water, to be smelt, not swallowed.
Josh Billings

For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.
Marcus Samuelsson

We take for granted electricity, water, even concerts. Count your blessings.
Damian Marley

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.
Lao Tzu

I feel most at home in the water. I disappear. That’s where I belong.
Michael Phelps

Water, air, and cleanness are the chief articles in my pharmacy.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Water’s never clumsy.
Matthew McConaughey

The mill cannot grind with the water that is past.
Daniel D. Palmer

If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water’s edge.
Napoleon Hill

When a country wants television more than they want clean water, they’ve lost their grip.
Lewis Black

Be wise and harvest Water while rain is in abundance
Sinvac Plastics


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 19 December 2014

To all of you going on a summer holiday:

Drive safely, Respect the sun, Drink lots of water, Enjoy time with your loved ones, Sleep late, Eat healthy food, Don’t waste water, Appreciate our beautiful country.

And Reminisce: indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events

Summer Holiday

Make lots of happy memories, so that all of next year you can reminisce about the wonderful December holiday of 2014.

And those staying at home, enjoy the peace and quiet of your home town, and the joy of having all your luxuries around.

Family Time

May the joy and the peace of our Lord be with you this Christmas.

Kindest Regards and Blessings from the Sinvac Plastics Team.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 15 December 2014

Rand Water has a website worth looking at. Categories include Gardening, Green Industry, School education, Fun stuff, Gallery, Shop and News.

The name of the website is WaterWise, and this is what it means:

• Respect Water, Respect Life.
• Don’t Waste Water.

Respect Water

• Don’t Pollute Water.
• Pay for Water Services.

Don't Pollute Water

• Environmental Action.
• Conserve Water, Conserve the Environment.

Conserve Water

Be water wise this festive season.
Do all of the above and also remember to harvest rain, since it is the rainy season.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 5 December 2014

Although the end of the year is always a hectic time for everyone, we do however now and then get the time to ponder, and look back. I asked Sabelo to write about his time with us, and his hopes for the new year.

My 2014 highlight - Sabelo Mthimkhulu
Sabelo’s success: I have been in Sinvac Plastics for six months now from the 4th of June. I started by working only Wednesdays for three hours and after that I would go to my place but by the power of God they saw my confidence and my purpose they then gave me another day which is Friday, so I woke Wednesdays and Fridays now, as I have told them that I am the hard worker “more action, less talking” so my life has been changed since then. So now I can afford to assist my grandmother a little financially and I am also able to assist myself by buying the toiletry and Airtime *smiling*

Sabelo at Sinvac Plastics

Now no more sleeping and getting bored because now I have got the Job. I really appreciate it to you in Sinvac Plastics for believing in me you have changed my year 2014. Now I am also seen as a human being in community.

I am also not forgetting Coronation Fund Managers who donated R5000 and it has completely changed my life. I now can see the doors are open for my talent skills of being a DJ *DJ SABZERO*

Sabelo as DJ Sabzero

With this fund I bought myself a DJ Mix, this is the equipment which I have been wanted all along in my life but I couldn’t afford it and this equipment it is the one that can open the doors for my future of being a DJ and to expose my skills to people who would book me to play for them the music. Then by the grace of the Lord Coronation donated to me through the Sinvac Development Trust. I thank you my life is going to change and I am going to get a benefit out of this equipment.

Thank you to Sinvac Plastics
And of course to Coronation Fund Managers


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 28 November 2014

Eskom has been faced with fuel shortages, rolling blackouts and just this week it warned that load shedding could continue well into March next year, and its’ financial results paint a bleak picture for power supply.

It says it has a crises on its hands and it’s not only about the unstable power system, it’s also about major financial losses. Although Eskom made a profit of R9, 3 billion in the first six months of this year, it is down by 24%, compared to the same period in 2013.

Electricity in South Africa

So let’s not say:
• We did not see this coming…
• When will these outages stop?
• Why didn’t they warn us?
• If only we knew…
• If only I bought the generator long ago…
• If only I had water tanks with all this rain…
• If only we prepared ourselves for lack of service…

We need to stress the lack of service provision by the government. We need to be realistic and do what we can to be prepared for outages of all kinds, whether it is electricity or water.

Be warned.



By Hélène van Wyk -  On 21 November 2014

World - renowned South African water engineer and academic Professor John Briscoe, who was the 2014 recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize, also known as the ‘Nobel prize for water’, has died at the age of 66.

In an interview with Engineering News Online earlier this year, Briscoe said he believed growing up in the semi - arid setting of Kimberley helped inculcate in him an acute sense that water security was not necessarily a given. There was always a sense, he said, that water should not be wasted, that it was expensive and that taps should be turned off.

Water security is not a given

It is easy to blame the government for mismanagement. But let’s be responsible - each of us - in our own small environment. Let’s also get the sense and sensibility of the Stockholm Water Prize Winner:
• Water Should Not Be Wasted.
• Water is Expensive.
• Taps Should be Turned Off.
• Water Security is Not A Given.

Briscoe received the 2014 Stockholm Water Prize for his “unparalleled contributions to global and local water management” and for combining “world-class research with policy implementation and practice to improve the development and management of water resources as well as access to safe drinking water and sanitation”.

Be Sensible - Harvest Rain - Now Is The Season.

Information taken from Engineering News.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 14 November 2014

Sinvac is experiencing a second day in a row without power – apparently due to cable theft. Luckily we have a generator, so at least we can work on the computers, although production is at a standstill. But more than just machinery is off, productivity also takes a dip, especially without our regular caffeine top-ups.

On a positive note - we had the first proper summer rains last night, and I couldn’t help but think how sad it is that all of this water from our roofs go to waste. And then I remembered the scientific report by the ISS.

Parched prospects

The Institute for Security Studies published a scientific report, by Steve Hedden and Jakkie Cilliers, with the very catchy title – Parched Prospects (The emerging water crisis in SA)

We are grateful to Dr. Cilliers who gave us permission to use the contents of this report, in order to get the urgency of the matter under people’s attention. If you need a copy of the complete report, email me a

Here is a short (not pretty picture) summary:
South Africa is over-exploiting its freshwater resources and water could be a large constraint on the implementation of the National Development Plan. Using the International Futures forecasting system, this paper models and forecasts water demand and supply until 2035, the period covered by the National Water Resource Strategy 2013. The authors’ research finds that the gap between demand and supply increases and that the solutions proposed by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation will not close the gap without additional, aggressive measures. The authors propose such measures for each sector of demand and each source of water supply.

And here are some facts and figures:
• Low and unpredicted supply, coupled with high demand and poor use of existing resources, make SA a water-constrained country.
• 2004 – The first national water resource strategy released as a blueprint for water resource management.
• 495 mm – The annual rainfall in SA, whereas the world average is 1033 mm.
• 8,5 million – The number of people dependent on agriculture for employment and income.
• 7 % - The percentage of formal employment provided by the agriculture sector.
• 3 % - The percentage of GDP contributed by the agriculture sector.
• Almost without exception, municipal wastewater is not being utilised in SA.

Be pro-active – do not let the next rain storm go to waste, because you still haven’t purchased your water tank.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 7 November 2014

Gauteng’s rainy season is here, and what a blessing it is. Do you have a tile roof, where the sound is soft and gentle? Or a corrugated roof where the sound is overwhelming during a Pretoria thunderstorm - what a wonderful noise!!

In Pretoria we had one of the most beautiful jacaranda seasons I can remember. Purple therapy at it’s best, and when the rain comes the jacarandas start to fade away, and make place for luscious green leaves.

With all this feel good (not to mention having pancakes for dinner), why not make the very best of rain, and harvest it.

Collect water from your roof

Your Roof is your Rain Harvesting Ally:

  1. With 50 mm of rain on a 20 m² roof, you can fill up your 1,000 litre slim water tank.
  2. One 1,000 litre tank provides about 3 days of water for the average household.
  3. You can link multiple tanks in sequence for more water.
  4. The average rainfall in Gauteng is 668 mm per year, and is enough to fill your Sinvac 1Tonner 13 Times.
  5. One full Sinvac slim 1Tonner, can do all of the following:

• 7 showers of 7.5 minutes
• 110 flushes of the toilet
• Brush your teeth over 250 times
• 43 Cycles with your dishwasher
• Water your garden regularly
• Fill up your swimming pool



By Hélène van Wyk -  On 31 October 2014

A Leaf Eater sounds like something living in the forest, green and creepy. The creature we call a Leaf Eater, however, lives comfortably on gutter outlet pipes. Waiting for the rain to fall down, so that it can consume the leaves splashing down from the roof top.

At Sinvac Plastics we have a range of rain harvesting products. Contact us and we will gladly explain the variety of options to you:

Rain heads and Leaf Eaters

The Leaf Eater Advanced™ is the next generation Rain Head, featuring the new Clean Shield™ (single screen) technology and VH Pivot™ outlet. The Leaf Eater Advanced™ Rain Head prevents debris from entering the Rain Harvesting system, improves water quality and reduces tank/cistern maintenance. The single screen incorporates Clean Shield™ technology which deflects leaves and debris away from the flow of water. This minimises maintenance and enhances catchment efficiency. This Rain Head incorporates a VH Pivot™ outlet that swivels to suit vertical or horizontal downspouts. The Leaf Eater Advanced™ can also be used as a debris removing device even when rainwater is not being collected.

Features and Benefits:

  1. Compact, versatile rain head for quick and easy installation.
  2. Single screen technology for advanced debris shedding (Clean Shield™)
  3. Minimal maintenance.
  4. Pivot the outlet to suit vertical or horizontal (rear outlet) downspouts (VH Pivot™.
  5. High flow rate performance.
  6. Superior catchment efficiency at low and high flow rates.
  7. Single screen with 1/32” aperture mosquito proof stainless steel mesh.
  8. Include adaptor for secure connection to downspout.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 24 October 2014

When you call Sinvac’s offices in Pretoria West, you will hear the friendly voice of Loice Simango saying – ‘Sinvac Group good day, Loice speaking’.

This Group also live together during office hours - On the outside of our building it says SINVAC HOUSE.

The group of companies work in synergy, and that is what gives us an enormous advantage – because we manufacture, fit, build, install, maintain. Here is more info on one of our sister companies: Sinvac Piping


Company Background:
Sinvac Piping manufactures SABS HDPE, HDPE and LDPE pressure pipe under SABS accreditation and supply brackets, stubs, bends, tee's, flanges and fittings to a wide variety of industries.

Sinvac Piping’s competent and committed employees ensure a quality product used for a diverse assortment of applications.

Market Segments:

  1. Mining – above and below ground installation.
  2. Slurry lines – to convey suspended solid matter in quarries and mines.
  3. Industrial and chemical – to transport aggressive fluids.
  4. Submerge pipelines – for cable ducting, water and sewerage.
  5. Water Supply.
  6. Sewerage, Effluent and Waste Water.
  7. Gas Distribution.
  8. Trenchless construction – for water supply, sewers and gas.

The company has been supplying chemicals and finishing materials since 1992 and has established itself as a reliable source of quality products. Visit their website at:


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 17 October 2014

This picture was taken at a storm water outlet in Midrand. Next to this outlet is a beautiful office park with gardens. The white swans in the pond turned into black swans due to the water polution. It is a sorry sight. Taxi owners wash their cars in the street, and the dirt and oil is then washed down the storm water pipes. Apparently no one really cares about this state of affairs.

Picture is worth a thousand words

The latest Engineering News has an article on the Storm Water Infrastructure (or lack thereof, in South Africa).

A significant amount of storm water infrastructure in South Africa is insufficient to handle the country’s rapid urbanisation, according to engineering consulting firm SRK Consulting South Africa.

The ‘age-old’ storm water problem entails that the runoff from catchment areas that have developed is significantly higher than the natural runoff, as developed areas are less permeable because of their being increasingly covered by concrete and other surfaces, notes SRK Consulting director Peter Shepherd. “This increase in runoff raises the potential for erosion in the watercourses, hence, the high erosion that is experienced in our urban rivers,” he continues.

Shepherd explains a long-term strategy to control storm water amid increasing urbanisation is to ensure that there is a buffer between the new developments and the natural rivers. “This creates a space for attenuation facilities and allows for silt or rubbish traps to be installed to collect these unwanted pollutants from rivers. These structures can be built so that, during dry periods, the areas can be used for recreational purposes.”

He adds that the attenuation of flows – slowing down the runoff from an area – must also be done at source. Planning for this could include the construction of water-harvesting tanks to capture the runoff from the roofs; permeable areas at the lowest part of the development, which can store the water and perhaps incorporate the development of a garden; permeable roads to reduce runoff; and on-site attenuation structures. Existing developed areas, where dams cannot be constructed, will need to use the river systems to attenuate the flows, while ensuring the volumes of storm water do not exceed the rivers’ capacity.

Shepherd notes that nearly every one of South Africa’s big cities has had a severe impact on river systems, with increasing urbanisation compounding the situation. “A lot of pressure is put on land use, while the control of storm water seems to be low on the list of priorities.” The increase in water flow from rainfall is not the only impact that urbanisation has on river systems, he states, adding that leaking sewage and discharged effluent also severely impact on rivers.

“Clearly, the leaks and maintenance of the storm water systems, as well as good policing from the parks and the water departments, are required.” The impact on increased runoff often results in flooding and rivers overflowing, which, in many instances, has led to loss of life and property, Shepherd adds.

The rivers that flow through urban areas must be maintained so that the natural vegetation and fauna can continue to keep waters clean. The most severe consequences of encroachment of urbanisation on rivers are erosion and sewage and effluent discharges. Shepherd states that the record of decision – regulatory authorities’ response to an application for development – must always include a storm water component as a condition to any urban development.

“Some municipalities are much better at insisting that developers include storm water controls in their plans, especially the Johannesburg area. The Johannesburg Roads Agency method, which is to ensure that the designs of storm water systems are included in township applications such that storm water increases expected from urban development are attenuated to natural conditions, for example, is a good indication of how developments are approved from a storm water perspective.”

Further, a shortage of professional engineers at municipalities is a real challenge, he says. “We need extensive training to develop the municipal engineering skills required for urban areas. We must address this actively, rather than continue to use it as a reason for storm water problems.” Expertise from the private sector can be vital to increase the levels of training and secondment of graduate engineers, notes Shepherd, adding that this is also a valuable way of developing newly qualified young engineers.

Article taken from Engineering News


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 10 October 2014

It is the opinion of the civil rights organisation AfriForum that the water crisis in South Africa has mainly been caused by the political custodians of our water

Definition of a Custodian: A person who has responsibility for taking care of or protecting something

Emerging Water Crisis

AfriForum believes that the following need to be implemented to ensure the sustainable management of South Africa’s water resources:

  1. An independent water regulator should be established to act as a watchdog and ensure that the public interests are protected by ensuring compliance with existing legislation by the Department of Water and Sanitation, water boards and all municipalities. The capacity of the private sector in this country should be used on a bigger scale to manage water services to ensure good quality and supply, investment and fair pricing.
  2. Policies must be changed to ensure that professional and competent staff are employed.
  3. Tenders must be assessed by professionals and awarded to specialist companies.
  4. Properly funded maintenance and operations contracts must be issued to competent companies.
  5. Educational programmes must be implemented at all levels to educate South Africans about water.
  6. The Blue Drop Report for 2014 as well as the Green Drop Report for 2013 must be released within seven days – the public is entitled to know.

“If we want this economy to grow and ensure a sustainable supply of good quality water, we must have radical changes within the portfolio of water and sanitation in South Africa,” Kleynhans said.

If our custodians were responsible, took care of and protect our water resources, we would not have faced the current water crisis.
No responsibility.
No care.
No protection.
No water.
No wonder.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 3 October 2014

Did the recent water crisis get your attention?
Are you waiting for the next water cut before you react?
Be wise and be pro-active.

Call us for Rain Water Harvesting as well as Emergency Water Supply quotes and tanks from 300 to 10 000 litres. for water tanks (rain water harvesting), or for emergency water supply (in case of water cuts).

Emerging Water Crisis

Recent Newspaper Articles Relating to Water

  1. Inaction to Water Crisis from Mogale City Municipality
  2. More Water Shortages Expected in some Jburg Suburbs
  3. Govt Urged to Investigate Gauteng’s Water Issues
  4. Gauteng Water Levels Dropping Drastically
  5. Water Issues in Jhb Continue
  6. Water Crisis: Reservoirs Taking Time to Fill Up
  7. More Water Shortages in Johannesburg
  8. Gauteng Water Running Dry
  9. Minister Launches Water Project in Mpumalanga
  10. Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water
  11. Ekurhuleni Water Turned off to allow Reservoir to Fill
  12. Water Restored to Most of Joburg
  13. Water ‘Ambassadors’ to put a Lid on Leaks
  14. Limpopo Hospital Reopened after Water Contamination
  15. Task Team appointed to Resolve Limpopo Water Problems
  16. Temba Water Cleared after Diarrhoea Outbreak
  17. Municipality Ordered to Restore Water to Schools

WATER CRISIS - It is the worst in 111 years

By Hélène van Wyk -  On 26 September 2014

How come large parts of Gauteng have dry taps if the Vaal Dam is 85.4% full? It seems that there is a variety of reasons for this. Inability of local government to manage available water, lack of knowledge on water management, and then of course the inability to get rid of cable theft. Suddenly there is a water awareness. Should we not also take responsibility and plan ahead? Why wait for the next water cut? Next time - when the water is cut, BE PREPARED. Get a 300, 500, 1000, 2000, 2500, 5000 or even 10000 liter tank from Sinvac. We have excellent specials until end of September. Call us for a quote.

Map of areas still without water on 25 September 2014
Water Crisis

Emergency Summit held over dry taps
The parliamentary portfolio committee on water and sanitation is having an emergency meeting about the water crisis residents of large parts of Gauteng and parts of the North West and Limpopo in the past week experienced. Although the water supply to some areas was restored, the taps elsewhere after more than a week remains dry. It was the first time in the history of Rand Water's existence of 111 years, that the water supplier - apparently because of power outages and cable theft – could not perform its mandate. Opposition parties wants to know why Rand Water does not have emergency generators.

Justice Mohale, Rand Water spokesman, said that he was not aware that the water utility emergency generators exist, or had ever been used or not. He said he was not sure when the water supply to all areas will be restored. The two pumping stations, and Eikenhof Palmietfontein (where power problems are), now works almost "overtime" in an attempt to get reservoirs filled. As soon as there is water, people fill up their baths and water tanks. Rand Water is struggling to fill the tanks, because of this. They ask people to only use the water they need.

According to Mohale there was a power outage of 12 hours a week ago at Eikenhof pump station in the south of Johannesburg. The reservoirs at Eikenhof supplies water to about 40% of Johannesburg's residents. The power error at Orlando (from where Eikhenhof get its electricity), was solved the next day. But but Monday morning the Palmietfontein pump station came to a halt when thieves stole power cables. Themba Gadebe, Ekurhuleni spokesman, said the Metro Council has water tanks at various locations in Bedfordview, Primrose and Kempton Park available. The engineers and those of Rand Water works day and night to ensure that water gets to residents. Sputnik Ratau, spokesperson for the department of water affairs and sanitation, said there is certainly no shortage of water because the Vaal Dam, Gauteng's water supply, 85.4% full.

Map and info taken from Beeld 25 September 2014


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 19 September 2014

Have running water? Households have very few water cuts and the quality of tap water is still drinkable. But is this sustainable? Will this last? Not according to research done by The Institute of Security Studies. I read an article in Beeld this week. Below is a summary of the article, as well as an extract from the report by the ISS. Maybe we should get out of our comfort zone, take these guys serious and start planning for the future by being water-wise.

Be Water Wise

Water Shortage and National Development Plan
Shortage of water may be one of the main obstacles in the implementation of our National Development Plan. This is according to Dr. Jakkie Cilliers, executive director of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS). Their latest report "Parched Prospects: The emerging water crisis in South Africa' was published recently.

'South Africa is over-exploiting its freshwater resources and water could be a large constraint on the implementation of the National Development Plan. Using the International Futures forecasting system, this paper models and forecasts water demand and supply until 2035, the period covered by the National Water Resource Strategy 2013. The authors' research finds that the gap between demand and supply increases and that the solutions proposed by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation will not close the gap without additional, aggressive measures. The authors propose such measures for each sector of demand and each source of water supply.'

According to the ISS there are no more surface water available to build more dams. Nonetheless, the Department of Water Affairs plan to build more dams. The ISS predicts a water shortage of 3,23 kmᵌ per year, by 2035. Currently South Africa use15,6 mᵌ per year.

The reason for the report, is to predict the need for water, and the availability of water by 2035.

Info taken from Beeld 17 Sept 2014 Report by Dr. Jakkie Cilliers and Steve Hedden.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 12 September 2014

Look at these interesting water facts:

• One drip per second wastes around 1,200 litres of water per year.
• A single washing machine cycle uses up to 100 litres of water, and the average family uses their washing machine five times a week. That's 26,000 litres in a year. • Take a shower instead of a bath and save enough water each week for 1000 cups of tea.
• A third of an average family's water use is flushed down the toilet. The average family uses the equivalent of two baths of water per day when flushing the toilet, so install a water saving device in your toilet cistern. See Sinvac Plastic's system below
• 20-25% of domestic energy consumed is used to heat water in the kitchen and bathroom, so you can save even more money if you try to be more efficient when showering, bathing and washing up.

Greywater system

• In half an hour, a garden sprinkler uses as much water as a family of four in a day.
• Your lawn only needs water once a week, even in the hottest weather. Over-watering can weaken your lawn by encouraging roots to seek the surface.
• Using a hose to wash your car wastes up to 300 litres or 33 buckets of water.

Source: See the Sinvac Grey Water system, just click here


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 5 September 2014

Today is the 20th  anniversary of Casual Day.   Always on the first Friday of spring – a reminder to the community at large to remember those with disabilities.

Celebrating Casual Day

At Sinvac Plastics we have a warm heart for people with disabilities.  Remember Sabello, the big smile young man who lost his arm in a tractor accident?  Let’s remember all the Sabello’s in our country, and do what we can where we can to those less fortunate.

See our heart-warming pictures in the new online brochure. Click here to open the Sinvac Book, where you will learn more about Kehnsani Primary School, Phyllis Robertson Home and Sabello Mthimkhulu.

Also during spring – remember to get ready for the rainy season and get water tanks in order to harvest rain.  We have a variety of sizes and colours, as well as extra fittings, to catch leaves, keep mosquitoes out, and metres that indicates the water level.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 29 August 2014

Ever heard of Aquaponics?   The people at MyAquaponics say it is BETTER than Organic.  In this case, maybe we should take notice and find out what it is all about.

On Saturday 23 August, we attended an introduction to Aquaponics Workshop.  Although it was a full day of trying to get our heads around this relatively new concept, with foreign words like Nitrosomonas and  Nitrobacter,  let’s try and summarize some of it:
‘Aquaponics is the cultivation of plants, fish and bacteria in one system.  It is a combination of Aquaculture (fish cultivation) and Hydroponics (soilless plant cultivation).  By combining aquaculture and hydroponics a sustainable agricultural system emerges producing protein and vegetables with excellent yields, little to no energy consumption and no waste.  One can think of aquaponics as the mimicking of nature to farm sustainably.’


Advantages of Aquaponics:

  • Sustainable:  Aquaponics is a no waste system and water is reused/recycled:  water is lost only through evaporation and transpiration and waste is recycled.  By growing fish in aquaponics, one can grow a high protein food source and reduce the need to harvest from our oceans.
  • Simplicity and availability:  Aquaponic systems can be DIY, designer or commercial.  Koi ponds can be converted to accommodate aquaponics as well as converting unused swimming pools onto aquaponics systems.
  • Production throughout the year:  When growing in an enclosed and monitored system, the risk of pests and diseases can be reduced.  By controlling environmental factors food produce can be produced all year round.
  • Saves water:  Aquaponic systems uses 95% less water than soil-base gardening.
  • More Productive:  Aquaponics is far more productive on a per square meter basis, compared to soil-based gardening.  It allows you to plant more densely than conventional gardening and the plants grow faster.
  • Multi-harvesting:  Aquaponics allows you to grow fish, vegetables, herbs and some fruit at the same time.
  • Better than Organic:  Plants and fish are grown environmentally friendly, through the absence of fertilizers and chemicals.  The system eliminates the discharge of polluted waste into the environment.
  • Cheaper Running Costs:  Fish feed is a lot cheaper than commercial hydroponic nutrients.  Grow the right fish, and you don’t even need to buy special fish feed.

FUN to run.
I took a picture of the fun I had (view it above on the right) – can you see the basil in the front?    It is planted in Hydroball, which is an amazing lightweight growing medium.

Are you curious?  Go to and book for their next course.

Aquaculture rectangular tanks also available from Sinvac Plastics.  For more information click here to see Rectangular Tanks


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 22 August 2014

Sinvac Plastics is a member of ARMSA.  Here is the history of and reason for membership of ARMSA.

The Association of Rotational Moulders of Southern Africa (ARMSA) was established in 1992 by a small group of enthusiastic rotational moulders and suppliers with the objective of growing the rotational moulding industry.

One of the most important responsibilities of ARMSA is to assist the industry in setting standards and maintaining (wherever possible improving) the quality of rotationally moulded products. The alignment of ARMSA with ARMO (the Global organization) has played an important role in information sharing and benchmarking.


At this point in time the main activities of ARMSA are as follow:
• Hosting an Annual Conference where emphasis is placed on gaining valuable knowledge to educate and ultimately stimulate the industry. Each year an attempt is made to ensure the papers are current, relevant and informative.
• Facilitating the annual "Student Design Awards Competition", which is sponsored by SASOL Polymers.
• Focusing on "Special Projects" as the need arises of which the most significant current project being the establishment of the Tank Standards with the SABS.
• The ARMSA committee continuously works on identifying new projects, which they believe will benefit the industry. Some of the more recent projects include material dry flow testing, rotational moulding training and one of the latest projects being research in alternative heating (more information to follow shortly).

All members of ARMSA bind themselves to the ARMSA Code of Conduct and should any irregularities occur the ARMSA committee reserves its right to act accordingly. An added benefit to all paid up members of ARMSA is that they receive copies of the RotoWorld and SA Plastics Composites & Rubber magazines.

Information taken from ARMSA website


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 15 August 2014

We or shall I say I started to know about SINVAC PLASTICS in 2014.  To know about this company it’s been great it has changed my life.
I am living at Phyllis Robertson Home in Gezina.   I have been living there for 8 years now.  We sometimes face huge challenges of water each and every year. Sometimes we will wake up without bathing, washing our teeth, no water to drink as well. 

In 2014 we had a “life saver” - we had a sponsor from SINVAC PLASTICS with tanks.  Now our life is going to change we will able to save water now.  No more complain about water even if there’s no water in the taps we wouldn’t worry because we know that we have some water that are saved in our tanks.

Come to SINVAC PLASTICS in Pretoria West to get knowledge of how to save water  
By Sabello


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 15 August 2014

Recycle Plastic

Contact us:
Talk to Smallmatter at 073 884 7353


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 11 August 2014

According to Engineering News, South African plastics industry body Plastics SA has launched its new sustainability objective, ‘Zero plastics to landfill by 2030’, which aims to divert all plastic from the country’s landfill sites and significantly influence the plastics industry’s waste and recycling strategic direction over the next 16 years.

According to Plastics SA’s 2013 plastics recycling survey, 1.4-million tons of plastic was converted per year with 260 930 t recycled in 2013, creating a recycling rate of 18.6% of all plastic.

Let’s work together and get that recycling rate up.  Get inspiration to recycle, from the pictures below.    Just look at what products are made from recycled plastics:

Want to recycle but do not know HOW?
Go to Plastics SA website - - and start doing the right thing right now.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 25 July

SA will have a water shortage in future, but contingency plans are in place, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) said on Tuesday.

“New dams are coming because this is a challenge that we are actually experiencing as a country in its totality”, Salga councillor Pinky Moloi said at a press conference in Johannesburg. “We are aware of the fact that there is going to be a shortage of water in general at some point.” She said it was important to educate people on water conservation. “Water security remains one of the most tangible social, political, and economic challenges faced by communities across the globe today,” she said.

The National Water Week’s slogan was FLOW – FOR LOVE OF WATER.

Here are some tips on how to save water:
Reduce water consumption

  1. Turn-off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving or soaping hands.
  2. Take shorter showers and use less water if you bath.
  3. Avoid buying bottled water.
  4. Sweep outside areas instead of hosing with water.
  5. Use eco-friendly soaps and cleaning products.
  6. Fix leaks at home & report public water leaks to the Municipality.
  7. Always use a plugged-sink or bowl instead of a running tap.
  8. Insulate hot water pipes to reduce time waiting for water to heat up.
  9. Install aerators and flow-reducing valves on your taps.
  10. Install water saving devices on taps, toilets, showers & sprinklers.
  11. Install a water meter and monitor your use.
  12. Install an instant water heater at your taps for immediate hot water.



By Loodjie van Dyk -  On 15 July

Sometimes, the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people!
On Sunday 13 July, SINVAC enrolled a team of 10 employees to participate in the KAYA FM 67KM MANDELA RACE DAY.

Khaya FM 67km Mandela Race Day

What a joyous occasion it was! Our motto was T: TOGETHER, E: EVERYONE, A: ACHIEVES, M:MORE… and indeed we did. Trinity, Stan, Kobus, Louzelle, Cliford, Edmore, Lavender, Blessing, Vimbayi and Loodjie showed that pain is only temporary, but VICTORY is forever. We all did the best we could and completed the relay in no time.

One can't expect victory, but plans for defeat and that is exactly what we achieved: we had a fun day and to do it all in the spirit of our great NELSON MANDELA.

Congratulations every one. Let us do this next year again and let us enter more teams !!

Also thank you to Kobus Snr for his inspiration and his presence.


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 10 July

With record minus zero temperatures throughout the country, some of us are happy enough to be able to even enjoy the cold weather, since we are able to stay warm. Others are less fortunate, and barely survive the cold. Why not hand out a couple of blankets and do what is possible to help those around us who are less fortunate?

We are happy to say that we did not experience any power cuts for the last week, and can only hope that it will stay like this. Having said this, all of us have a responsibility to use energy responsibly.

Save Electricity
With these easy tips you can start saving on electricity and money:
• If you're not using it, switch it off.
• A geyser eats up 39% of all household electricity, switching it off saves money.
• Showers use less water than baths.
• Use energy saving bulbs.
• Do not leave TV's, DVD players and other appliances in stand-by mode.
• Close fridge doors as quickly as possible when taking out items – take out more than one item at a time.
• Keep room temperatures between 18ºC and 22ºC
• Wear warm clothes and use hot water bottles instead of using heaters.
• Only switch washing machine and dishwasher on when full – saves water and energy.
• Turn down washing machine temperature from 40 to 30 degrees. This can reduce electricity consumption on average by 41%.
• Cook water in kettle and not on stove.
• Only fill kettle with what you need.
• First let left over food cool off outside, before you store it in the fridge.
• Use rechargeable batteries.
• Turn OFF your tumble drier, and make use of the son.

Have a warm, energy saving, cosy week, and be kind to those less fortunate!


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 4 July 2014


By Hélène van Wyk -  On 27 June 2014

It is a week later, and still no joy in Pretoria West Industrial area.
Same old story – stolen cables.  Makes you wonder - Why is there not more security regarding this.  The tens of hours lost in production and productivity is mind boggling.  We tried everything, the City Council, the Mayor’s office, even Beeld.

We wanted Beeld to come and do a story.  They are not interested.  They say - why are we more important than the hospitals.  We are not.  It is shocking that hospitals have to go without power due to bad management by the local government.

 The mere fact that this happens all the time - does this not ask for serious action from the people?  Apparently the inner city of Tshwane experience power failure on a regular basis.  Do people not care?  Do they enjoy not having to work? 

Save Power

Well, we DO care.  Our livelihood depends on our business.  We have people who need to tend for their families.  The fact that something which is wrong happens all the time, does NOT make it right.  It makes is WORSE.

And why oh why doesn’t the Government want to tell us in advance when we will have load shedding?  So that those who care can prepare and manage their lives accordingly.  One lady who works in Sinvac’s kitchen said she is so afraid when the electricity goes off.  She stays in Winterveld, and they have power cuts of up to two days, she never knows what to expect when she gets home.

So yes, it is a business, and we are losing out on productivity but we are proud to say that we are human too,  and  we do care.


By Loodjie van Dyk -  On 20 June 2014

The residents of TSHWANE will never vote PRETORIA WEST INDUSTRIAL SITES, where we are situated, as the most beautiful spot in our beloved City of Tshwane.

Here is a constant buzz of activity where small, medium and large industries all try their best to grow their businesses and to contribute to our economy.


Lately, electrical power failures are at the order of the day. Not only have we lost precious production hours, but the damage to machines due to power failures and surges is a huge concern. Our Scrap levels have also risen to new heights.

Feedback from the City Council is very difficult to obtain. The Call Centre is not user friendly and does not serve the residents well. Feedback from them is never adequate and no one can trace progress on any work –in –process.

However, hats off to the City Power Electricians working in this area. We can just image the pressure they are experiencing. Cable theft still remains one of the main sources of electrical breakdowns, but they are also under staffed and have inadequate source of equipment.

Let us hope the City of Tshwane fulfill their promise to their residents to provide better services. The effect of their efficiency will be measured at the municipal elections next year.



By Hélène van Wyk -  On 5 June 2014

Don’t you just love winter?  The luxury of having a good excuse to stay indoors – cosy at home with your loved ones.  But somehow winter time always make us count our blessings….  When it is cold, we have warm clothes.  When we are hungry, we have food.  When we are tired, we have warm beds.  When the wind is blowing, we have shelter.

Sinvac Plastics Development Trust installed 6 Rain Water Harvesting tanks at the Phyllis Robertson Home for the Disabled.  Apart from the blessing this was to the Home, we at Sinvac were also humbled by people’s stories.  One such person is Sabello, who is a resident at the Phyllis Robertson Home.  Click here to visit the Phyllis Robertson Home website

This is his story:
Sabello is a teenager with a beautiful smile.  He describes himself as hard working.  He was raised by his grandmother in Pongola, KZN.  In the land of sugar cane.  In September 2006 he worked on a farm for pocket money.

One Thursday morning a tragic accident happened - a piece of his clothing got stuck in a tractor’s engine.  There were lots of blood and oil – and ‘it was the end of my life’.

Sabello broke his spinal cord, lost the use of both his legs and his right arm were amputated.  ‘The mix of blood and oil was bad, but I’m lucky my left arm survived.’  He stayed in hospital for 11 months.  The farm owner sent him to the Muelmed Hospital in Pretoria for expert treatment and paid all the expenses.  In hospital he was trained how to use the computer.  Recently he started working at our premises in Pretoria West.  He works for a couple of hours per week and in the process we learn from each other.

The young adult from Pongola miss working in his granny’s garden, planting vegies and fetching wood for the fire.  He does however feel there is still a place for him in life, because he is good with the computer, and was given a second chance.  But most of all, it is humbling to see someone in a wheelchair, with only one arm, still smiling, and counting his blessings.

So, let’s enjoy the icy cold winter, indulging in the good things we have, without forgetting those who are less fortunate.

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