Cape Town - Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka has called on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take charge of the water shortage crisis in Cape Town.
In an open letter to Ramaphosa, who is currently leading SA's delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Wierzycka wrote that the Cape Town water crisis was an "even greater disaster in the short term" than corruption and mismanagement plaguing state-owned enterprises.
"We need your guidance and the full resources of National Treasury to ensure that the worst-case scenario does not materialise. This is not a time for political point scoring – it is time for action," she wrote.
"The cost of salvaging the situation is much lower than the cost of bailing out SAA or the Post Office. In fact, it is a fraction of that cost. Money can be raised, in time, from the residents of Cape Town and from investors. However, in the short term, we need strong leadership from the government elected to serve the people."
Wierzycka, who has made a name for herself as an outspoken critic of private and public sector corruption and mismanagement, wrote that Ramaphosa should intervene "as soon as possible".
"Without that intervention, the humanitarian crisis that is about to unfold in Cape Town will take a massive toll on our country."
She said that a major SA city running out of water had the potential to "generate more negative headlines about South Africa in all international media than we have ever seen before".
"It will bring the economy of the Western Cape to its knees, crush tourism, affect economic growth, destroy jobs and become a case study in how to mismanage a world-class city."
Day Zero, the day when most of the city's taps will be switched off, and Capetonians will have to queue to fetch 25 litres per person per day from 200 locations across the city, was this week brought forward by nine days to April 12 due to a drop in dam levels.
Dams supplying water to Cape Town are currently only 27.2% full.* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER