Activists: ‘Day Zero is fake’
CAPE TOWN — About 20 members of a coalition against the privatisation of water descended on Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s official residence Leeuwenhof in Cape Town yesterday to fill their water containers from a tap outside her gate.
They claimed that #DayZero was fake news. “The City is deliberately creating a scarcity, scaring the people about the Day Zero,” said Shaheed Mohammed, a committee member of the Tafelsig Activists Forum (TAF), outside Zille’s gate, while police looked on.
“Day Zero is a myth, Day Zero is fake, it’s news being promoted by the City and by the province,” said Mohamed. He said there was water available, but that the City was “creating” the scarcity which had led to calls for a drastic reduction in water consumption. This had led to the construction of temporary desalination plants and the drilling of the Mitchells Plain aquifer at great cost and potential environmental damage, he said.
The group says there are 70 springs around Cape Town that should be freely accessible to the public, and that gates should be opened if they are on locked sites. It also wants old underground tunnels reopened and rehabilitated so that the water there can be used, instead of running into the sea.
Mohamed said the desalination and aquifer plans were expensive and would harm the fishing industry.
The activists released a statement earlier inviting people to go to Zille’s official residence to fetch water, saying she had invited them. But yesterday, only about half a cup of water came out of the fountain before the flow stopped. A policeman explained to the group the purification system was not working. A sign warned the water was not drinkable. The group, which comprised unionists, residents and activists in a “Water Coalition”, said they would write to Zille for clarity on why they were not able to get water as per her invitation, and when they could come back. — News24.