The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has expressed concerns over the negative reaction by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).
“Where is the DWS plan to coordinate national offers of help for Cape Town and other water-stressed areas,” said Julius Kleynhans, Water Portfolio Manager at OUTA.
According to OUTA, the department is fighting groups that have demonstrated their support for Cape Town drought relief.
Construction of Phase 3 of the Scheme has now ground to a halt due to slashing of the budget by the Department of Water and Sanitation.
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) January 29, 2018
“Instead of fighting those who want to help, the DWS should embrace active citizenry and assist by helping to coordinate those organisations and individuals who are helping others in need,” said Kleynhans.
DWS has been reported as saying that the sending of Gauteng water to Cape Town puts Gauteng’s water supplies at risk. Read more…
Kleynhans said:“We acknowledge an element of risk to our supplies but we need to manage it. We want to encourage people, if possible, to buy bottled water to support these causes as this method poses a lower risk on water quality issues and spreads the load on water sources from all over the country.
“It is also important for those who receive the water in Cape Town, to ensure that the water is healthy to drink (If the bottle is not sealed, at least boil it before consumption).”
Sustainable future water supply
Kleynhans said the lack of proactive planning and implementation by the DWS over ensuring sustainable future water supply is the core reason for the City of Cape Town being in such a mess, even in a drought situation.
“It is the constitutional duty of this Department to proactively create capacity for future demand in water, to ensure good quality of water and to manage drought situations responsibly. DWS has failed this country, not only Cape Town.”
OUTA stressed that the department has failed to provide solutions to Cape Town, but waited until the last minute to offer a desalination plant.
“We continuously see that emergency situations are created so that proper tender processes can be avoided and money can be looted in situations like these,” Kleynhans said.
“If the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II was finished on time, it would have supplied us with water in Gauteng this year, 2018, which leaves us with a great example of the inefficiencies of DWS and its leadership, putting Gauteng under severe risk regarding water supplies,” he added.
With “Day Zero” looming for Cape Town, OUTA calls on residents to be proactive citizens and push back that date by limiting their water use.
Schools, companies and communities have been donating water bottles and tanks that will be sent to the Mother City while Capetonians wait for their first winter rains.
“We express our gratitude to the Gift of the Givers, Water Shortage South Africa and others for their initiatives and trust that the government will support their efforts in assisting the Mother City. We also want to encourage these initiatives to go beyond the Cape Town crisis.
“There is a grave need for similar interventions across the country and for all South Africans to start using water more sparingly and responsibly,” Kleynhans concluded.
Featured image: Stock