Exclusive interview with Wout Otte, CEO of WEG-Wise, bronze sponsor at African Utility Week.
What are you most excited about currently in terms of WEG-Wise’s products and solutions?
WEG-Wise can make a real difference to service delivery in municipalities in South Africa and Africa. Our product provides municipalities with the tools to strengthen their own internal processes, monitoring and resolving any water dilemmas they might face. Our system is built using the latest technological innovations and components. We have developed this product for and with the people of South Africa to ensure a wiser and more efficient way of using the utility services.
What is on the calendar for WEG-Wise for 2012?
2012 will be an exciting year for WEG-Wise as all our hard work over the last seven years in South Africa is finally starting to pay off. We have many very exciting events on the agenda like the installation of our management system in areas like Hilton Gardens, Newcastle, Worchester and many other areas across South Africa. However, our biggest and most exciting agenda point for 2012 must be the opening of our manufacturing facility in South Africa and the installation of a complete African organisation to manage, control and development our company goals within South Africa and Africa. We are striving to achieve a fully operational production facility in Blackheath (Western Cape) and an installation of 30,000 management systems by the end of 2012. All in all, a very busy, productive and exciting year 2012 will be for WEG-Wise.
What opportunities do you see in Africa?
Our Water Management System is of significant importance for all countries where water is a scarce resource. It’s also important even for countries where there is no shortage of water. All countries have to deliver potable water to their people and this is expensive water. No country can afford to lose this expensive water through waste caused by leaks and illegal connections. This is why we think we can play a big role to assist governments, municipalities in preserving scarce water resources.
What do you think makes WEG-Wise competitive in this market?
Our development team in Europe and our experience with water management against and with water dilemmas all over the world will be a major advantage again any of our competitors; however we would have no change if our product wouldn’t be as advanced as it is today. Our abilities and possibilities are truly endless. We have not only looked at what is needed by the utility supplier but also at what is interesting for the consumer. We believe that this makes our product unique and essential for the African market.
What do you think are the biggest challenges to the South African/African water market?
Non-payment for water by consumers as well as a reliable and up-to-date water infrastructure.
What surprises you about this industry?
The acknowledgment of problems and dilemmas within Africa concerning utility management, the amount of money made available by government but unfortunately the lack of activity by local municipality and local settlements concerning these items.
Why do you keep returning to African Utility Week?
As a company involved with utility management we stand behind the development for better products and better services. We believe that African Utility Week is a step towards this.
What is the message for the African Utility Week delegate and visitor?
Do not be afraid to utilise technology to address the service delivery challenges that you may face. Utilities must explore PPP structures more vociferously to be able to do more with their restricted budgets. Businesses in the private sector must do more to enter into alternative funding models for municipal projects in order to support governments to address service delivery challenges.
Anything you would like to add?
Let us make African Utility Week a big success again!