State shoves Maimane aside on water crisis

Des van Rooyen and Nomvula Mokonyane

An initiative by DA leader Mmusi Maimane to take control of the CT water crisis will be short lived. A cluster of ANC ministers announced, Thursday, that they are taking charge of efforts to combat the drought in the Mother City, and the other water crises elsewhere in the country.

Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Des Van Rooyen told a media briefing in Cape Town that a new declaration will empower his team to issue regulations and directives  to deal with the drought disaster

This will be achieved by declaring the water crisis a national disaster.

“Currently, efforts are underway to classify the drought as a national disaster. This process will be finalised on or before the 14th of February 2018,” he said.

He suggested the declaration would enable enhanced efforts in several areas:

Issuing of early warning messages on a regular basis;

Drilling and equipping of boreholes across all provinces;

The application of water restrictions to regulate use of water;

The provision of animal feed and fodder;

Water tankering in areas of severe need;

The promotion of the use of drought resistant cultivars;

Reduction of water usage by industries and other users such as crop farmers;

Change of timing of cultivation and irrigation, etc.

Water conservation and demand management; and

Re-use optimisation.

Maimane recently took control of City efforts to stave off Day Zero – when residents in Cape Town will have to queue for water.

His initiative was slammed by constitutioal experts, who questioned his right to put himself in charge.

However, there will be fears that the politicians are again playing power games instead of uniting to fight the drought, which has not just hit Cape Town and its surroundings, but also the Northern and Eastern Cape, and parts of Kwazulu-Natal.

Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane used the briefing to question the term: Day Zero.  She appeared to believe it is symbolic of a defeatist strategy.

What Capetonians will be seeking from this new governnment Coup d’Eau not just a power play, but genuine efforts to support the City.

There has been widespread criticism that national government has dragged its feet in providing the extra bulk water supplies the City needs, and that it has used red tape to thwart efforts by the City to fund and launch new projects.

This might stem from an effort to undermine the credibility of the DA administration in CT and in the province, as the ANC would dearly love to take over municipal and provincial government.

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