Greenpeace, Zille ask Zuma to declare national disaster in Western Cape and Eastern Cape

People queue to collect water from a natural spring outlet at South African Breweries. (AP)
People queue to collect water from a natural spring outlet at South African Breweries. (AP)

Cape Town - Greenpeace Africa has joined Western Cape Premier Helen Zille in her call to President Jacob Zuma to have the Western Cape declared a disaster area.

However, the organisation is also pleading for assistance in the drought-stricken Eastern Cape.

Harsh water restrictions imposed on residents living in the two provinces have led Greenpeace Africa to send a petition, signed by 2 769 people, directly to the Presidency.

"Declaring the Eastern and Western Cape provinces national disaster areas is the only way to ensure that every government structure can mobilise the necessary resources to respond effectively," said Melita Steele, senior climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.

Imminent threat of Day Zero

With the imminent threat of Day Zero in Cape Town, Greenpeace Africa believes that there has been a "failure in leadership at a time when South Africans need it most".

Zille announced that she made a similar request for the Western Cape to the Presidency on January 22, 2018.

"The reason that I think it would be useful to declare a national state of disaster is because then everything is in place for anything that we need to do that may require us to shortcut certain systems," Zille said.

"We don't want to, at the moment that we need to do those things, urgently to have to then start declaring disasters and going through processes.

WATCH: Farmers donate millions of litres of water to Cape Town

"Let's rather get that all organised now, so that [national and provincial disaster management departments] can be working together like [they are]. The minute something has to be done, we can just get on and agree and do it."

Greenpeace Africa also pointed out that the water crisis in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape were not isolated.

"The Gauteng province is currently implementing Level 1 water restrictions as the Katse and Mohale dams located in Lesotho, which supply the majority of water to Johannesburg and Pretoria, dip to 32%. This is a sure sign of the 'new normal' that faces South Africa and many other countries around the world," the organisation said in a statement.

Spokesperson for the Presidency Dr Bongani Ngqulunga could not be reached for comment.

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