Government needs to focus on long-term solutions to the water crisis
TV NEWS channel eNCA dedicated a whole day on Water Watch. It is obvious that Cape Town and other areas face a serious water crisis.
Imagine surviving on just 50 litres of potable water a day.
The question is why are the bureaucrats involved in resolving the water crisis playing naming and blaming games?
Surely the authorities should have seen this disaster looming? A good example is the resolution of a water crisis is Richards Bay in KZN. A joint effort between government and business saw the installation of a desalination plant.
This plant, that converts sea water to potable water and churns out millions of litres of water, is the lifeblood of this town.
According to the mayor, there was a time when some big businesses were threatening to pull out if the water crisis was not resolved, which would have resulted in thousands of job losses and lost revenue to the town’s coffers. Fortunately, this did not happen.
Cape Town needs to follow suit and build desalination plants or the city will be in dire straits. Even if the rains come and the dams fill up, the plant could serve as a backup for water supply.
Cape Town is a top tourist destination for local and overseas tourists which will very rapidly decline.
This will be a huge loss to the city’s coffers resulting in many job losses. ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that the nuclear deal will not happen as the country has excess power capacity.
The billions of rand that would have been used for the nuclear project should be directed to resolve the drought crisis .
The building of more dams, drilling boreholes and desalination plants is now a government priority to save the country from the ravages of drought.
Water is life and without potable water we are nothing.
Clare Estate IT’S hard to imagine a situation where as a South African editor I would need to sleep on the floor of my office in downtown Pretoria, fearing arrest by plain-clothed police officers camped outside the building.
They say it could never happen in democratic South Africa – that media houses are shut down and editors arrested from their homes and offices. Let’s hope it never does.
But that is what we all thought about Kenya – supposedly another beacon of democracy on the African continent, with a robust media that reported freely since the end of former President Daniel Arap Moi’s rule. But no more, those days are long gone. Some of my media colleagues in Kenya were sleeping on the floors of their offices on Wednesday for fear of arrest as plain-clothed police officers camped outside. This is really a dark day for media freedom in Africa.
To think Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was in South Africa for the ANC’s 106th anniversary on January 8, being given a rousing welcome as “Comrade Kenyatta.” Little did we think that less than a month later journalists in his country would fear for their wellbeing and freedom.
The African Editors Forum, of which our own Jovial Rantao is chairperson, has “condemned in the strongest possible terms the outdated, draconian and deplorable act by the government of Kenya to muzzle the media covering an event organised by opposition leader
That event was what some have characterised as a “stunt” by the opposition, which held a mock swearing-in ceremony of Odinga as president in Uhuru park on Tuesday. The opposition remains aggrieved by what they consider was a sham re-run election in October.
In September the Supreme
Court had annulled the August presidential elections due to a botched count, and ordered a re-run. But the opposition boycotted the re-run as the country’s electoral commission said they could not guarantee a proper ballot and judges were being intimidated. As a result, Kenyatta commenced a second fiveyear term.
The government called Tuesday’s mock swearing-in ceremony treason, but to the thousands of opposition supporters who attended the event, it was an expression of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in the country. The National Super Alliance, which Odinga leads, has said they have launched a national resistance to a government which was not elected according to the constitution.
What appears self-evident is that Kenyatta and Odinga are engaged in a high-stakes game of brinkmanship in a country that is more polarised than ever. But what cannot be tolerated is the muzzling of the media at a time when the Fourth Estate is needed more than ever to carry out its duty to inform the public.
As the African Editors Forum statement noted, the presence of journalists (at an event) is neither an indication of support nor a lack thereof, but is a constitutional duty to record for the public events of major public interest and importance. By the Kenyan government shutting down independent television and radio stations that covered the event, which was of major public interest, it signalled intolerance and a slide towards authoritarianism. For the government to censor views or events it does not agree with is quite simply an abuse of its power.
The media in Kenya has worked tirelessly to ensure the country’s democratic space is safeguarded and accessible, and it has fought hard against political interference and media capture. It is very distressing that independent media stations such as Citizen TV, Inoora TV, Kenya TV Network, and NTV (owned by the Nation Media Group) have been muzzled. Only the state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and K24 were allowed to continue broadcasting. K24 is owned by Mediamax, of which the Kenyatta family are shareholders.
The government’s action underlines a trend since 2013 when Kenyatta first took office. If media freedom is a barometer for general freedom, we should treat the latest developments with the seriousness they deserve.