CAPE TOWN – ‘Day Zero’ can be avoided in Cape Town if everybody collectively saves water, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Friday.
Day zero, as dubbed by city officials, is scheduled to take place on 12 April. That is the day when taps run dry in the municipality.
Mokonyane said politics must be put aside and officials should act responsibly during this time.
“We meeting now with civil society with the intention to reassure our people that we can only avoid day zero if all of us make a meaningful contribution, get the right information and put the politics aside to ensure that those responsible do ensure that the Constitutional right for human consumption with regard to water is prioritised.
“There is no substitute, there's no alternative source of water except us protecting the little we have and working together without pointing fingers and playing politics."
She called on everybody to ensure that day zero is never realised.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier called the province’s water crisis a “total disaster”, a statement that did not sit well with the DA there.
“We’re facing a real, total disaster in Cape Town that will affect four million people,” Ramaphosa said.
War of words
There has been a war of words between Mokonyane and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille over the water crisis.
The national water minister claims the Western Cape was declared a disaster area two years ago, which contradicts Zille’s statement, which said the province was only declared a disaster area nine months ago.
The two have also not seen eye to eye on which areas should be declared, with Zille wanting the Northern and Southern Cape also declared disaster areas.
Mokonyane further claimed she had a good relationship with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille over the past three years – a source of tension between Zille and de Lille.
The Water and Sanitation Minister further charged that she’s being dragged into DA factional battles and she was angered that she had to come in and clean up.
She further stated she cannot be seen to be panicking for the rich.
“We want the Western Cape provincial government to take responsibility and deal with the issues of water demand management, because that is where the weakness is. The restrictions have not been adhered to, we need to look at why the restrictions have not been adhered to,” Mokonyane added.
In counterclaims made by Zille, she said Mokonyane gave platitudes to everyone but doing nothing, bemoaning the lack of support she received.