In the face of disaster government fails SA

2015-11-12 06:00

THE Mail and Guardian declares that “the government has failed South Africa as political meddling, poor infrastructure management and inadequate contingency planning leave the country beyond drought repair” and that “our water-agriculture nexus was broken by the same kind of political paralysis”.

Dr Rishigen Viranna of the Democratic Alliance tells us that of R353 million allocated for drought relief, 98% of the funds have not been used for the purpose in spite of the DA’s timeous pleading for contingency planning. International experts warn that due to Africa’s “lowest ability” to cope with the very serious prognosis for climate change on the continent, we will be among the worst sufferers.

It is deceitful of authorities to imply that water engineers are not capable of anticipating and averting disasters such as that which has now befallen us. With educated foresight, expertise, planning and funding, this catastrophe need not have arisen.

Admittedly, we are in the throes of climate change exacerbated by a severe El Niño, but we have survived worse, pre-ANC, without loss of drinking water. Of course water consumption has increased, together with massive waste, but it should go without saying that a competent government would have planned and provided for the former and minimised the latter.

E. Rangasamy has posed a number of pertinent questions in his letter (5 November) to which we the public are entitled to answers. But answers are never forthcoming from our municipality which, like the government, hides its incompetence and negligence behind waves of subterfuge.

In the face of a disaster that sees poor people facing serious health hazards by drinking from dangerously polluted rivers and the unprecedented damage to all industry and quality of life, instead of an apology, Lennox Mabaso (Department of Local Government, KZN) asserts that “the matter has been blown out of proportion”, Lungile Cele (general manager, Ugu Water Services), “you can drink it”, and France Zama (Ugu senior manager, mayoralty and communication), “we will continue with the supply of water as demanded by our mandate” and “we will not be deterred by any elements in meeting this constitutional obligation”.

Steven van Staden

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