City ‘is alone in wa­ter cri­sis’

Na­tional de­part­ment will not help with fund-rais­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - YAZEED KAMALDIEN

WHILE the City of Cape Town is des­per­ately seek­ing funds for wa­ter projects as Day Zero nears, the na­tional Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion De­part­ment said yes­ter­day that it would not of­fer a sin­gle cent to­wards the drought cri­sis schemes of the Mother City.

De­part­ment spokesper­son Sput­nik Ratau said the City was solely re­spon­si­ble for rais­ing funds for its ad­di­tional wa­ter projects.

“Fund­ing should come from lo­cal rev­enue. It is a mu­nic­i­pal is­sue. In any way that we might be able to sup­port, then that’s where we come in,” said Ratau.

Deputy mayor Ian Neil­son last week told Week­end Ar­gus that with the city coun­cil hav­ing dropped the pro­posed drought levy, it would need to seek funds else­where. He said the City would ap­proach the na­tional gov­ern­ment.

The city’s dams are run­ning low as it is rac­ing to­wards Day Zero – April 12 – when taps run dry.

Western Cape Pre­mier He­len Zille even went as far as call­ing on Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to de­clare the wa­ter short­age in the prov­ince a na­tional disas­ter. But noth­ing has come of this.

Ratau said if the wa­ter cri­sis was de­clared a na­tional disas­ter, then the na­tional disas­ter man­age­ment cen­tre “would need to help”.

Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion Min­is­ter Nomvula Mokonyane is in Cape Town vis­it­ing wa­ter projects and meet­ing of­fi­cials.

“The min­is­ter has been in­volved in the Western Cape. The min­is­ter is as­sist­ing and she en­gaged with the mayor (Pa­tri­cia de Lille) through­out last year,” Ratau said.

Dis­cus­sions were un­der way at the de­part­ment’s Bel­lville of­fices yes­ter­day to unpack the na­tional wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion mas­ter plan.

The de­part­ment dis­closed that South Africans used 237 litres of wa­ter a per­son a day, higher than any other coun­try. Wor­ry­ingly, wa­ter lev­els are also de­creas­ing coun­try­wide.

And while fund­ing for wa­ter projects such as de­sali­na­tion re­mains un­clear, the DA has seem­ingly been jug­gling lead­er­ship on the cri­sis.

Last Fri­day, the DA-led city coun­cil stripped De Lille of her pow­ers to speak on the wa­ter cri­sis. Her deputy, Neil­son and Xanthea Lim-

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