By Rajesh Raghubar, a representative of the eThekwini Municipality, reporting to the Water Inspectorate

This is a copy of the talk delivered by Rajesh, with thanks to the eThekwini Municipality, at the recent Durban/KZN Plumbing Travelling Exhibition Workshop, supported by IOPSA.

Rajesh do a head and shoulders of him please. Image supplied by Plumbing Africa | Rory Macnamara

Rajesh do a head and shoulders of him please. Image supplied by Plumbing Africa | Rory Macnamara

eThekwini Water and Sanitation is unique in the sense that out of all the metros in South Africa we are one of three municipalities with have an active Water Inspectorate.

The Water Inspectorate comprises of a team of 7 water inspectors namely,

  • Thabane Ncanana (Senior Inspector)
  • Rajesh Raghubar (Central)
  • Eddie Puckaree (North)
  • Bongi Mkhize (South Central)
  • Dhirendra Naidoo (South)
  • Bongani Jali (Inner West)
  • Innocent Zondo (Outer West)


Performs all such functions that ensure all water supply installation work done by private plumbers and contractors or organisations fall within the requirements of the eThekwini water and Sanitation Bylaw, Policies and Water Services Act.

Coordinates and controls processes associated with maintaining compliance with standards and by-laws in respect of water supply installation works through the provision of technical information and guidance on requirements, investigation of illegal connections, determination of appropriate courses of actions to enforce compliance, planning, scheduling and monitoring the execution of operational activities and administrative processes in order to ensure procedures and specific standards encompassed in regulatory and quality control frameworks are adhered to and appropriate remedial measures and action is implemented to curb non-conformance.

Non-conformance is measured against the Water Services Act, South African National Standards and Water Supply Bylaws.


  • Applies technical procedures and applications to interpret and provide comments and guidelines on water supply and installation requirements, by:
  • Coordinating processes based on the city engineers and fire department regulations to address applications received for supply and installations, connections, re-sites, and meter testing in respect of new or major developments.
  • Interacting with consultants and developers and individual households with regards to the feasibility studies of connection or re-sites and the availability of water prior to commencement of projects.
  • Monitoring the completion and submission of project progress reports through the various construction stages and, on final completion, analyzing contents to establish and confirm connection and installation conform to standards, and approved components are used.
  • Responding and acting on complaints and queries from project supervisory personnel or project owner, establishing the applicability and making available relevant technical information relating to water supply and installation standards.
  • Assessing installations against by-laws and quality standards prior to commissioning water supply and issuing certification or disapproving non-conforming installations.
  • Participating in site meetings (consultants, developers, fire department, and other stakeholder departments) with a view of providing input into technical requirements and processes related to water supply, elaborating on and facilitating understanding of the approach.
  • Making available technical information to address specific disputes relating to installations between contractor and owner, explaining standards and codes to verify or reject the work.
  • Carrying out stock take and physical checks on contractors for the following: vehicles, safety equipment and clothing, as well as related administrative work, e.g., time sheets and job cards.
  • Setting testing standards and criteria for responsible plumbers.


Coordinated processes to assess the status of individual household, business, and informal settlements in respect of water installations, by:

  • Controlling the execution of on-site inspections and applying randomly selected areas to conduct a physical examination of connections and installations.
  • Initiating investigations to address general non-compliance with Water Supply By-Laws and analysing identified deviations with a view to determining appropriate action for implantation based on procedure.
  • Applying testing procedures to assess the competency and understanding of plumbers undertaking water supply installation and connection work and confirming registration on successful completion of the determination process.
  • Plans scrutiny – all new commercial and residential developments are scrutinised by the relevant zonal inspector for compliance with the Water Supply By-Laws and the relevant South African National Standards. The Water Inspector needs to scrutinise the plans based on SANS 10400, which was introduced in July 2015.
  • Ensuring water components are JASWIC listed, which is a bylaw requirement.
  • Ensuring energy efficiency in buildings, green concepts, and SANS 10400 Part XA.
  • Ensuring the prescribed 15% water energy savings is achieved.
  • Scrutinising and commenting on fire rational design with respect to connection sizes, storage tanks, pressure, and flow.
  • Applying Water Policy with regards to metering in multiple residential complexes to ensure proportionate billing.

Often, we have queries from plumbers where they have been contacted by developers or body corporates, whereby the plumber is requested to provide a design to reticulate a building. We advise the plumber that they should advise the customer to engage the services of a wet services engineer to provide the design as plumbers should not undertake design work.

Private plumbers working within eThekwini’s area of jurisdiction in terms of the Water Supply By-Laws are required to be a responsible plumber with the city.

For a plumber to become metroetro registered, he or she will be required to undertake a written test with the municipality. The minimum requirements to be eligible to do the metro ticket is an artisan plumbers’ qualification with a minimum of four years pre-trade test experience.

The test comprises of the following modules,

  • Theory comprising bylaws and general plumbing questions,
  • Hot water system, pressurised geyser.
  • High rise buildings,
  • Backflow prevention
  • How to size a connection based on loadings
  • Fire and domestic installations.

As the agenda suggests, the Water Inspector is a friend which is true as we are here to assist the plumber and to ensure installation work within the municipality complies with the Water Supply Bylaws, Water Services Act and relevant SANS standards and most importantly, installation work done does not cause undue waste of water.

In closing I would like to take the opportunity of thanking the organisers, and more importantly the plumbers that made time to attend this event.