Cape Town residents should be forming ratepayers’ associations to fight for change in the city. Capetonians are placid about the water crisis, and the city has been “fiddling” with tenders to provide desalinated water far too late in the day. These are the views of author and journalist Max du Preez, who delivered the Barry Streek Memorial Lecture
“I am surprised how placid Captonians are about the water crisis,” said Du Preez, a former editor of the Afrikaans weekly anti-apartheid VryeWeekblad, told the Cape Town Press Club.
He said the administrators of the city had been warned long ago about the pending water crisis. “The administration was warned,” he said.
Du Preez hinted that there could be a public backlash against the Democratic Alliance administration of the city over its handling of the water crisis. “We have known for two years that (the city) was heading for a disaster.”
All the city had done was to force citizens to save water. While the response had been good – and he hoped that the water-saving regime would continue to be adhered to – there seemed to be “fiddling” about tenders to solve the crisis. This had carried on for far too long.
While the DA administration had otherwise run a good city and Cape Town was seen as “a South African model city,” the water crisis had blotted the city’s copy book. The city was a prime tourist attraction. “Now we are heading for a situation … perhaps soon… (when we will) have to go with plastic canisters and get water from a tank.”
“We are going to tell millions of tourists and all the citizens that they are not allowed to flush the toilets twice a day… and only (to) take a shower once a week.”
“This should never have happened in a world-class city.”
Max du Preez delivered the annual Barry Streek Memorial Lecture at the Cape Town Press Club. Du Preez worked with the late Streek as a parliamentary journalist.