The Democratic Alliance’s Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela notes with caution the National Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane’s, utterances regarding the water crisis that has gripped the country, but especially the Western Cape.
The drought in the province is a matter of extreme concern and should not be taken lightly. Politicising the crisis will be shortsighted and unfortunate, Madikizela said.
Madikizela – who is likely to replace Helen Zille as premier of the Western Cape in 2019 – said: “The DA will not allow Minister Mokonyane to use the upcoming Water Infrastructure Investment and Stewardship Summit as a political stage or talkshop; serious and clear plans and targets are the outcomes the DA is looking for at the conclusion of the summit.”
On Monday, the Minister of Water and Sanitation announced the Summit. She said it was intended to bring in private sector expertise for multi-billion rand solutions for tackling water crisis.
While the Minister cited the Richards Bay Desalination Plant in KwaZulu-Natal as a “shining example” of public-private sector participation, Madikizels said the DA “would once again like to remind her the Western Cape government has been calling for the construction of water provision infrastructure – a responsibility which rests solely in the mandate of the ANC’s national department of water and sanitation – since the DA came into government in 2009.
Madikizela said it had fallen on deaf ears as to this day, “the national department has done nothing”.
The MEC reported that last year, the city of Cape Town set out to drastically reduce water usage in the municipality and a number of measures have since been put in place. “Since then, Capetonians have managed to reduce consumption from 1,1 billion litres a day before restrictions to the current levels of 585 million litres,” he reported.
Madikizela said his party looked forward to the Water Summit on 30 November. It is where we will seek clarification on why, despite the crisis, the ANC-led national government chose to look away.
Of the R18 billion allocated to the National Department of Water and Sanitation, the ANC-led government had done little with this budget in the Western Cape.
Water is needed to survive and the DA is committed to ensuring taps do not run dry and that this critical resource is not turned into a political blame-game.
Bonginkosi Madikizela is an MEC in the Western Cape and is also the DA leader in the province