Cape Town - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has requested a meeting with African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss a joint plan to tackle Day Zero.
Maimane on Monday said he requested the meeting in Ramaphosa’s capacity as leader of government business to discuss how their offices can “best work together to tackle the immediate drought crisis” in Cape Town.
He welcomed Ramaphosa’s announcement in Davos that a team was being assembled to deal with the crisis, saying he would work with anyone to avoid Day Zero.
“It is no secret that the drought crisis in the City of Cape Town is unprecedented,” Maimane said in a statement.
“I have assembled a disaster response team, comprising of members of our respective governments, to effectively respond to the situation and to lead our efforts to defeat Day Zero.
“As such, I would like to ensure maximum co-ordination between various players, so that we can avoid Day Zero together.”
Maimane also said it was crucial that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane were also part of the meeting to address the financing model for water supply.
‘Not the only drought crisis’
“While the Cape Town drought crisis is the one that requires the most urgent attention, it is not the only drought crisis in South Africa,” Maimane continued.
“I would therefore also like to discuss with the deputy president how best we can collaborate and tackle other water crises across the country – where water infrastructure projects are behind schedule, or non-existent.”
The party would also be engaging with leaders from all sectors to discuss private sector funding of water projects in the short and medium term.
“The national interest must be put ahead of individual or party political interests. Now is the time to unite to defeat Day Zero.”
Money ‘not the answer’
On Sunday, Mokonyane said at a Cape Town Press Club event that throwing money at the looming crisis was not the answer, but that Capetonians need to adapt their behaviour.
“We must allay the fears of South Africans,” she told the anxious audience.
“Day Zero can be avoided if all of us become positive and move beyond politics and appreciate that the realities of climate change are upon us.
“It’s not in throwing in money that the solutions will be found. We need to adapt, we need to prioritise, but most importantly, we need to adapt.”
Her department would be offering financial support for some of the city’s water augmentation projects, but only once a full plan has been tabled.
City wants to see budget
Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson on Sunday said the City of Cape Town wanted to see the department’s budget allocation for the crisis now and that it would be happy to implement it.
“We would just like to see some budget allocation, that’s all.
“For this crisis period now, certainly for this summer, it’s unlikely anything that they implement is going to help us.
“But we don’t know what the rainfall is going to be for the next few winters.
“I hope we can see in a very short period significant effort from their side, in terms of significant action in improving the bulk water supply here in the Western Cape.” DM
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