Mark Ross was elected as chairman at the recent annual general meeting (AGM) of the Small Wastewater Treatment Works Suppliers Association (SEWPACKSA), and past chairman Karl Juncker highlighted the significant accomplishments of the association since its inception in 2010.
Juncker said the association’s membership is representative of the majority of the suppliers in the industry. “One of the most significant achievements of SEWPACKSA is its constitution, which has a strong legal standing and is a very important strategic document for the association. The association represents a communal voice that consists of suppliers and other representatives standing together. These aspects give SEWPACKSA a lot of credibility. Members of SEWPACKSA are required to sign and agree to the Code of Conduct and are thus committed to deliver products and services of a certain standard and quality,” said Juncker.
Mark Ross is a well-known person in the package plant industry. Speaking at the AGM, Ross said: “With the immense effort and dedication that the founding exco members put into the establishment of SEWPACKSA, the resultant sound foundation and visionary way forward should be a ‘must join’ message for all associated with the industry, no matter how far removed a particular potential member may feel.
“The industry has been historically fragmented, with each supplier operating in isolation and thus lone voices in the multiple authority-driven minefields of conflicting legislation and guidelines. A cohesive ‘single’ approach is in fact welcomed by such authorities.
“SEWPACKSA is also formulating sound industry standards and will be available to assist suppliers who may fall short of such standards on a mentoring basis.”
Strategic goals Ross provided an insight into the overall objectives of SEWPACKSA’s strategic plan, which was announced at the AGM. “The finalisation and implementation of the Matrix of Minimum Deliverables is an integral part of the plan. Whilst it has already been finely tuned, it is by nature a moving picture, with continual changes to legislation, circumstances and thought processes, so it will consequently remain a working document that will mutate on an ongoing basis,” said Ross.
SEWPACKSA has also introduced a policy and procedure for the handling of complaints regarding member compliance to SEWPACKSA standards of quality. Ross says the complaints procedure and enforcement of standards may sound draconian, but this is more of a negotiated directive tool for the betterment of the broader industry. The interaction between suppliers and end-users will be encouraged and it is not inconceivable that such end-users, who operate their own treatment plants, could be considered potential members as plant operators.
The alignment (both technical and administratively) and establishment of a formal working relationship between the suppliers (SEWPACKSA) and the industry stakeholders is possibly the most important goal of SEWPACKSA, to have a sound common front within the industry and to be the negotiating voice heard by all stakeholders.
One of the association’s focus areas is the continual promotion and development of SEWPACKSA amongst the members and throughout the industry, as well as pursuing increased support from clients, consultants, engineers, institutes and associations.
Ross says the broader the industry mix, the more influential and successful SEWPACKSA will become in achieving its desired outcomes. “This inclusive approach will result in all parties participating in debate and decision-making. Promoting the association at all levels of industry interest is thus imperative,” says Ross.
The development of further input and involvement of members, which will include the training of requirements, assistance to meet standards/process regulation, interaction and monitoring are other important goals. “These endeavours will be one of the successful outcomes. The current exco cannot function in isolation to the membership and extended stakeholders. With sound management of the association, all the desired outcomes will be achieved and expanded over time,” reiterates Ross.
SEWPACKSA and WISA “Fortuitously there is a cross-pollination of committee members on both the SEWPACKSA exco and the Water Institute of Southern Africa’s (WISA’s) Small Wastewater Treatment Works Division, and a very close working relationship exists. The blueprints of both organisations, while having many very close overlapping aspirations, are complemented by the strengths that each brings to the table,” says Ross.