DA ac­cuses ANC of ‘blame game’ over wa­ter short­ages

Cape Argus - - NEWS -

THE ANC in the Western Cape’s claims that DA lead­ers are re­spon­si­ble for a “fail­ure to timeously re­act to re­solve the present wa­ter short­ages” were a cheap at­tempt at po­lit­i­cal sab­o­tage, DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madik­izela said.

“The drought in the prov­ince is an ex­tremely se­ri­ous mat­ter which im­pacts the lives of mil­lions of Western Cape res­i­dents. Mak­ing an at­tempt to politi­cise the is­sue and shift the blame… is an act of im­ma­ture and tact­less pol­i­tick­ing that we have come to ex­pect from the ANC in this prov­ince.”

This was also an act of com­plete hypocrisy when one con­sid­ered the ex­tent to which the ANC it­self at na­tional level seemed to have de­lib­er­ately ex­ac­er­bated the drought, he said.

Premier He­len Zille had been aware of an im­pend­ing wa­ter short­age since 2015 and, on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions, had re­quested as­sis­tance from the na­tional Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion, he said.

Madik­izela said the ANC na­tional govern­ment’s Western Cape re­gional head for wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, Rashid Khan, was still in de­nial of the dis­as­ter in Fe­bru­ary, claim­ing that “it was still too early to de­clare Cape Town an emer­gency dis­as­ter area”.

“He fur­ther claimed that the City of Cape Town’s early warn­ing pleas were a mere at­tempt by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to ‘get capital to fund wa­ter projects’. If any po­lit­i­cal party failed to re­act timeously to the wa­ter cri­sis in the prov­ince it is the ANC at na­tional govern­ment,” Madik­izela said.

Fur­ther­more, the DA-led Western Cape govern­ment had been call­ing for the con­struc­tion of wa­ter pro­vi­sion in­fra­struc­ture, a re­spon­si­bil­ity which rested solely in the man­date of the na­tional Depart­ment of Wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, since the DA came into govern­ment in 2009.

“To this day, the na­tional depart­ment has done noth­ing. In fact, the DA-led pro­vin­cial govern­ment was obliged to spend its own money on wa­ter canal re­pairs to mit­i­gate wa­ter losses in the Voëlvlei Dam, a task which is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the na­tional depart­ment,” he said.

In Au­gust, Zille billed the na­tional Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion R3.5 mil­lion for these re­pairs. The Western Cape was not re­spon­si­ble for this work, nor did it re­ceive a bud­get for it as a re­sult, but “we are ac­cus­tomed to pick­ing up the slack of the ANC at na­tional govern­ment which con­tin­ues to fail our prov­ince”. – ANA

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