On Wednesday 30 July at the inaugural South African Water, Energy & Food Forum (SAWEF) Gala Awards hosted at Montecasino in Fourways, Professor Kader Asmal, was posthumously awarded the first ever SAWEF Order of Leadership by Deputy Minister of Water Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, and SAWEF co-founder and noted environmentalist Professor Anthony Turton.
The award was received on behalf of the family by professor Asmal’s nephew, Ebrahim Asmal.
Speaking at the awards ceremony Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi lauded the late professor Asmal for his commitment to pioneering democratic South Africa’s water legislation and implored her colleagues to build on the solid foundations that had been put in place.
Professor Turton said Asmal’s legacy lived on through the National Water Act, which was the ”first substantial piece of legislation to be brought to bear in the post-Apartheid history, containing world class concepts such as environmental flows and the democratization of the process of water resource allocation through Catchment Management Agencies (CMA’s)”.
These self-same CMA’s were the subject of much discussion at the third SAWEF held early in the day at the Montecasino Ballroom.
Continuing the citation Turton reiterated the SAWEF Executives belief that “Kader Asmal is a fitting candidate for their inaugural Leadership Award, because he was a manifestation of the core values that we believe are necessary in our young democracy as we grapple with the complexities of finding viable solutions to the wicked and enduring problems associated with the water-energy-food nexus.
His ability to remain loyal to his party while still retaining the moral integrity of a free-thinking agent is a key element of his unique make up. His ability to drive change when many resist, through a combination of vision, dogged courage and sheer tenacity, constitutes what we consider to be a key success factor of leadership. In short, the SAWEF Executive is happy to hold up Kader Asmal as an example of the kind of leadership we should encourage in our young democracy.”