For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
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Cape Town has moved directly from winter to
a very hot summer. Whatever spring flowers graced our landscapes, were quickly
scotched. Our country and city's precarious water resources call for a
concerted effort by all stakeholders to secure our future.
Global warming is a scientific reality we
cannot continue to deny. Denialists like Donald Trump are being increasingly
challenged by their own citizens to stop their governments to stop wilfully
abrogating their responsibility to protect citizens from harm and to secure
The decision by the City of Cape Town to
halt the roll-out of water desalination plants because our dams are more than
70% full is most astonishing. The science about our country's water scarcity
contained in a 2010 report makes clear that we are vulnerable to increasing
frequencies of Day Zeros.
Global expertise has recently confirmed
that we are on course to overshoot the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase beyond
the 2010 levels. We are in the danger zone. Evaporation is already eroding our
dam levels, and will continue to do so.
The question is why would the City of Cape
Town leaders not use known cheap technologies to exploit the two oceans around
us to provide citizens with regular reliable water supply? Why undermine the
tourism industry with negative messages to our visitors about water scarcity
when we could become self-sufficient in water as we enter the certainty of a
warmer planet with less rain?
We need to ask: who stands to benefit from
the decision to postpone water sufficiency action through desalination?
We now know more than before from all the
horrors of state capture and abuse of power at the municipal levels that crises
are often manufactured to enable allocation of emergency tenders to preferred
suppliers. Is the City of Cape Town's delayed desalination plant action a
strategic mistake or wilful abrogation of responsibility? Or is it a
preparatory step to creating an emergency to benefit suppliers waiting in the
The responsibility of the City of Cape Town
to the citizens of our city and country is to ensure provision of water as an
essential basic need to all. The responsibility to promote and protect Cape Town
as a tourist attraction is critical to ensure that we make a contribution to
President Cyril Ramaphosa's efforts to kick-start the economy. Tourism as part
of the services sector is a growing and sustainable source of inclusive growth
that needs to be harnessed by all role players.
Cape Town and the Western Cape have the
opportunity to leverage the expertise of the four higher education institutions
located here to become a leader in innovative interventions to deal with
climate change. New technologies in solar and wind energy are available to
enable us to migrate to a low carbon future.
We have the potential to leverage the Cape
of Storms into a place where high-flying kites at 800 meters could transform
wind power at night into base load to complement solar power.
South Africa is blessed with the resources
to rise to the challenge of climate change and transformation of our
socio-economic system toward greater inclusive sustainable development. Skills
training including vocational skills to prepare the infrastructure for a
transformed socio-economic system requires long term planning and strategic
Crisis management of known risks such as interruption
of water and energy requirements, is not an appropriate approach to governance
and management of our common resources under these changed climatic conditions.
We expect much more from our leaders than the current performance.
Residents of Cape Town have demonstrated their committed to changing
consumption cultural patterns to save water and energy. Our leaders owe it to us to secure supply of
water and power as essential basic needs. The oceans,
the aquifers, the sun and wind from the Cape of Storms provide all we
need to remain a favoured destination for internal and international
- Mamphela Ramphele is co-founder of ReimagineSA.
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