Water woes: Maimane, Zille shift blame to Nomvula Mokonyane

2018-01-24 15:40
Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. (GCIS)

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. (GCIS)

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Cape Town - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane made it very clear on Wednesday that the responsibility to provide bulk water lay with the national Department of Water and Sanitation.

Despite starting off his address by saying that "this is not a finger pointing exercise", both Maimane and Premier Helen Zille laid the blame on Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

"I want to make something very clear on the bulk supply of water. There is a misconception that this is the role of a City and it is a local government responsibility," he said during a public meeting at the Joseph Stone Auditorium in Athlone.

AS IT HAPPENED: More people are complying with Cape water restrictions #WaterCrisis

"Let me be very clear. It is not. It is the constitutional mandate of national government to deliver water to all municipalities," said Maimane.

Managing the water disaster would have to involve increasing bulk water supply, which the Western Cape government had to commission in the short term.

Zille, who had already called out Mokonyane on Twitter, added: "There is a difference between finger pointing and pointing out who is responsible in these situations."

Zille also alleged that the Department of Water and Sanitation had sent her a letter in December, laying out a proposal to construct a desalination plant at the V&A Waterfront.

"The City already had plans to build a smaller desalination plant at the Waterfront. This shows that they really have no idea," said Zille.

During a question and answer session, mayoral committee member Xanthea Limberg also stated that the Department of Water and Sanitation had provided no financial assistance to the City to help deal with the drought.

Maimane scheduled the address to announce his political control of the City’s responses to Day Zero and the Drought Crisis Team. The team will be managed by Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson and Limberg.

Hands on

"Helen Zille will make sure that the province leads and directs disaster management responses 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," explained Maimane.

He also outlined water augmentation plans, such as desalination, transfers from private dams and the drilling of aquifers. Maimane said 120 million litres of water would be made available by May and that further information would be communicated.

The DA leader was briefly interrupted when a member of the audience shouted: "Why are you lying? Stop lying!"

DA national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme quickly calmed the situation and Maimane continued with his address.

Maimane’s final message was to beg Cape Town residents to reduce their water usage.

"Let's ensure that each of us, our families, friends and fellow citizens unite together to defeat Day Zero," he said.

Read more on:    da  |  nomvula mokonyane  |  mmusi maimane  |  helen zille  |  cape town  |  drought  |  water crisis

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