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Strong leadership and the ripple effect

Charmaine Mabuza

Charmaine Mabuza, general manager at Murray & Roberts’ Aquamarine Water Treatment

With an impressive background across wide-ranging water profession portfolios, Charmaine Mabuza, new general manager at Murray & Roberts’ Aquamarine Water Treatment, is ready to effect continuing and widespread positive change for Africa’s water supply security.

What leadership qualities give you the edge in being able to put Murray & Roberts’ Aquamarine at the forefront of water treatment in Africa?

CB  Without strong visionary leadership, no strategy will be executed effectively. I always lead by example, work with integrity, resourcefulness and am always aiming to enable others. This allows for a cohesive working environment and creates a synergy within the organisation.

When did you officially take up your new position and what background made you the outstanding candidate?

I started at Aquamarine on 1 September 2017. I have been involved in many different facets of the water industry for 13 years, and have worked in both the private and public sector. My experience ranges from being a microbiologist and a limnological scientist, to being in chemicals manufacturing sales and water and wastewater treatment consulting. This aligned well with the strategic direction of Aquamarine.

What life events led you to choose a career path in the South African water sector?

When I decided to become a microbiologist in a water laboratory, I really didn’t understand the many facets of the water industry. I just knew that I loved the water sciences, and I wanted to play a pivotal role in the supply of good-quality and safe water. I also care about helping people and making an impact, and this career allows me to do that

South Africa’s ongoing coastal water shortages are causing concern among many regarding supply security into the New Year. What solution or set of solutions would Aquamarine recommend to solve this issue?

We have extensive knowledge in all processes from conventional water treatment to specialised reverse osmosis, desalination and ultrafiltration systems. With all types of pretreatment equipment, including clarifiers, media filters, softeners, dealkalisers, demineralisers, deaerators, reverse osmosis, and mixed-bed deionisers and EDI.

Aquamarine Water Treatment’s capabilities include the manufacture of skid-mounted desalination units with permeate flow rates ranging from 20 m³/h to 200 m³/h. These units make use of the latest energy-recovery devices to optimise power usage. Units are supplied on skids with separate skid-mounted, pre-filtration units to suit feedwater conditions, or they can be containerised with separate containerised pre-filtration units.

What advantages does a Murray & Roberts company like Aquamarine offer when it comes to the rapid deployment of desalination solutions at different scales?

All systems are designed and manufactured by our in-house design and manufacturing engineers. Additionally, our lead times are shorter than our competitors’, and we use and upskill local talent. We also offer retrofitting for existing customers’ systems.

The head office of Aquamarine is in Cape Town, which ensures quick turnaround times. We also have two other branches able to provide services across South Africa.

What advantages do your solutions have over similar local offerings?

We offer financial assistance to customers, as well as rental options or build, operate, own and transfer systems.

Our modular units provide clients with the flexibility to increase or decrease their facilities’ capacity. In addition, we offer unique energy-recovery units and custom design to meet every customer’s requirements.

Over and above our technical offerings, our people are what set us apart. Trained service technicians for after-sales support and plant maintenance ensure that our customers have the backing they need to operate plants optimally and with confidence.

Plant extras that are particularly desirable for packaged options include lock able, tamper-proof containers that are fitted with windows, doors, and air conditioners. Insulated panels are an extra option.

How successful has Aquamarine been in its plans to become a leading service provider for the African market?

Over the past 16 years, Aquamarine Water Treatment has developed a complete line of efficient equipment
and chemicals to ensure safe and sustainable treatment programmes for boiler water, cooling water, wastewater, and potable water applications across the African continent. We have a firm customer base and have seen significant growth as a company, both in revenue and resources.

What partnerships have enabled these successes and how?

To guarantee that we effectively and
efficiently service our customers and
offer the best technology and commercial solutions, we formed partnerships with key market players. These include:

  • distributors across our network in Africa
  • Water Components South Africa (WCSA), which is Africa’s largest supplier of quality water treatment components
  • Aqua Life, a provider of advanced desalination equipment
  • key specialist consultants in the water industry.

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