'Implement water demands, or we'll ask for you to be placed under administration' - ANC

ANC provincial legislature leader Khaya Magaxa (James de  Villiers, News24)
ANC provincial legislature leader Khaya Magaxa (James de Villiers, News24)

Cape Town – The Western Cape ANC says it intends calling for the provincial government and City of Cape Town to be placed under administration for their dismal handling of the ongoing water crisis.

ANC provincial leader Khaya Magaxa said on Thursday that they would approach the national government if the DA-led administration failed to heed to their demands. 

The demands are: 
-    "Water-shedding" timetables to be released to the public; 
-    The finalisation of a plan to tackle the water crisis; 
-    Deadlines to be released for augmentation schemes.

"When we see there's no movement at all from the DA to resolve the matter, we will approach the national government," Magaxa told journalists at a press briefing. 

Western Cape ANC chief whip Pierré Uys said provincial authorities had been warned of the impending crisis ten years ago

He said the City of Cape Town was not releasing Level 5 "water-shedding" timetables because it was not "cutting water equitably".

"Some people's water gets cut, others not," Uys said. 

READ: Cape Town's groundwater plan targets 'impossible'

Sufficient dams

When Magaza was asked whether the national Department of Water and Sanitation should take responsibility for not building additional dams, he said Cape Town had access to enough dams. 

"There's nobody [who] came up claiming that the dams that we have are not sufficient. We can have another dam, but the major contributing factor is that we are not managing the water we have currently properly," he said. 

The Department of Water Sanitation is the custodian of the country's water resources and primarily responsible for the formulation and implementation of policy guiding the water sector. 

Magaxa did not respond to a question surrounding a Western Cape government initiative to clear debris in a canal at the Voëlvlei Dam, at an estimated cost of R3.5m, despite it being a national competency. 

He disagreed with the city of Cape Town's current Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan, saying it was only to "show face".

"You can have a beautiful disaster plan because you want sympathy from other sources of funding to supplement your plan, but if you don't have preventative measures in place… you will continue to react."

'Messed up'

Uys agreed and said the city had jumped the gun with the disaster plan. 

"We all know that a disaster plan is... [about] managing a disaster and they had all the opportunity to prevent the disaster," Uys said. 

"They had all the opportunity to prevent the disaster; there is still [an] opportunity to put things in place to prevent the disaster."

He said the city of Cape Town hadn't implemented water augmentation schemes when warnings were in place. 

"They jumped immediately into a disaster plan, into Level 5 [water restrictions] and started cutting water."

Magaxa said the provincial government and the city had "messed up" with their response to the water crisis. 

"People who are at the receiving end of this crisis are the poorest of the poor, and they continue to punish the poorest of the poor," he said. 

"Should we experience a catastrophe, they would have blood on their hands, and they must be held responsible for the crisis we are facing."

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