ANC Statement after meeting with the Minister of Water and Sanitation
The ANC in the Western Cape met with the Minister of Water and Sanitation on Friday, 26 January 2018, both as a political organization to which the minister accounts and on behalf of multiple formations in society who are seeking answers and clarity from the department on its plans to avert the dreaded day zero.
The ANC received a detailed briefing from the Minister on both the Demand Management strategies and supply management of water strategies which the department has been embarking on which should yield fruits and save the City and Province from the looming gloom and doom. The ANC is happy with the Department's emphasis that the very concept of #DayZero is a DA invention that translates to nothing more than an unnecessary tool of rattling residence on a pseudo-judgment day rhetoric.
The ANC was clear to the Minister that the Demand side management of water has failed and frankly has never been sufficient to deal with the deep seated water challenges of this province. People's demand for water is tied to their livelihoods and asking them to reduce their water use is asking them to adjust their way of living which is not an easy feat especially for the poor. The ANC pointed to the minister that the Democratic Alliance has failed to meet any of its water demand management targets because of this reality.
The ANC was therefore interested in water augmentation projects, the supply side management of water, and whether there is enough time and capacity to implement big projects before the city and province run out of water. The Minister shared ANC's sentiments and assured us that there are clear and measurable steps taken by the department to increase the Provinces water supply.
The ANC noted that the department is working hard in the Provinces dams such as Voelvlei Dam and Theewateskloof to enable longer abstraction periods, inter-basin transfers in the Bergriver catchment, and multiple other projects which we have insisted the department aggressively shares with the public to manage people fears due to little information.
The ANC noted that the department had already met with the city and released funding for them to procure desalination plants as an emergency intervention for CoCT. The ANC is concerned however that the City of Cape Town requested that Minister delay the implementation of the desalination option so that they can assess the ground water availability.
It is this counter-intuitive decision making by the City of Cape Town and the Province that have brought us to this edge of perdition. Desalination and ground water availability are not mutually exclusive.
The ANC also raised concerns with the Minister that other part of the province, particularly rural areas have long suffered from DayZero without much concern from the province and the Minister must look at prioritizing such areas so that whilst the DA only responds to challenges that affect the affluent residence, the ANC must respond to all our people without prejudice.
The ANC is happy with the department’s progress report and would like to see such plans dominating the public space so that we can speak hope and not fear to our people.
We asked for National intervention and national department of water and sanitation has responded to #Water Crisis.
The ANC also shared with the Minister some concerns and suggestions from the coalition of civil society and other organizations to which ANC and its alliance are part of which are as follows:
1. The Opening of all the 70 springs in Cape Town to all citizens.
2. That the wasting of spring water be stopped and channeled into the City’s water system
3. That all leaks be fixes immediately
4. Strict conditions for the licensing of water bottling companies.
5. That Soft drink and brewing companies must severely curtail production. We need water not sugary and alcoholic drinks.
6. That Luxury agricultural water products must be reviewed until the crisis is over.
7. The Closure of the sluice gates at surrounding dams for human not agricultural consumption
8. The Use the aquifers for public good with a recharge plan.
9. The Monitoring of corruption, abuse and exploitation in order for Water to remain a public good and not be outsourced or privatized.
10. Intervene in desalination & other sourcing of water contracts by national government to ensure Open transparent process.
Statement issued by Faiez Jacobs, ANC Western Cape Provincial Secretary, 28 January 2018