A war between Capetonians, The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government is slowly brewing as we edge closer to Day Zero. At a press briefing earlier today, members of the Democratic Alliance (DA) were heckled and accused of lying.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane addressed the media on a multi-disciplinary programme to deal with the management of averting Day Zero. Maimane used the opportunity to discuss the unprecedented step of changing political roles in dealing with the crisis.

“I have also instructed that the management of the drought crisis at the City be transferred to Ian Neilson and Xanthea Limberg. Unquestionably, they are the best people for the job. Ian will take the lead role in directing the City of Cape Town’s response to this drought, supported by Xanthea Limberg. They will form part of the new Drought Crisis Team I have established, who are with me here. Helen Zille will make sure that the province leads and directs the disaster management response in the event that Day Zero does arrive. Bonginkosi Madikizela and Anton Bredell will form a core part of directing and implementing the strategy of this team,” he said.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille was previously involved in managing the drought crisis, however, she was stipped off her powers and formally charged by her party. “Now is not the time for politicking and finger-pointing. We do not have the luxury of time. We need to unite behind this common mission to defeat Day Zero. Together with the citizens of CT, we can defeat day zero,” Maimane said. He further discussed what would happen in the event of Day Zero. Massive preparation is going in to assure residents have access to 25 liters of water per day.

Maimane said that informal settlements, schools, hospitals and other essential services will still be supplied with water as far as possible. During the briefing, an Athlone resident in the crowd accused him of lying – he was thrown out of the briefing.

Meanwhile, Human Rights advocacy group SA1st Forum is calling for the removal of City of Cape Town authorities and said the Western Cape Government has failed to manage the City’s water shortage effectively. The City will be implementing tougher water restrictions next month with residents only allowed to use 50 liters per person per day.

Day Zero rushes forward to April 12

“We demand that there be accountability and consequences for this monumental mismanagement of the water situation in Cape Town,” the group said in a statement. “We feel that a credible and competent group of people be appointed as the “Administrator” to diligently take charge and find a solution to the problem that has been coming on for a long while,” they said.

The group will be holding a picket on Sunday and is calling on the public to participate  to show their displeasure at how the City and Government had been managing the water crisis. Day Zero has been brought forward by nine days because of a significant drop in the dam levels, it has now been moved forward to 12 April 2018.


Picture: Aarti Narsee

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