Patricia De Lille is deceiving citizens about water crisis – COSATU WCape

Federation concerned about the Mayors attitude to the water crisis, because by ignoring it, running out of water is a reality

Cape Town Mayor Ms Patricia De Lille is deceiving citizens by claiming that the current water crisis will not see water running out by March 2018.

10 August 2017 

Mayor De Lille published a letter in the Newspapers this week that clearly lies to the Cape Town public. This is however not just a little white lie. This is a lie that is going to lead to the disease and death of the Capetonians, when water runs out in March 2018. Below Cosatu outlines the areas of factual inaccuracies in the mayor’s letter:

Cosatu is concerned about the Mayors attitude to the water crisis, because by ignoring it, we are going to run out of water. Cosatu has filed a Section 77 against the city because our members cannot go and buy water at the shops when it runs out, we depend on public supply.

The Mayor threatens and insults the bearer of bad news, in the vain attempt that the bad news will disappear. The actual focus should however be on the water situation and how we can mitigate it, when it runs out. The fact is that we are facing a crisis is borne out by the mayors actions.

The Mayor has put out a request for ideas [RFI] 3 months ago, that closed in July. This means that there is a chronic shortage of water and the City has no idea what to do.  If the City was on top of things they would have been aware that we are facing a crisis of supply in water due to a number of reasons. The reasons for water supply problems are global warming effects, not sufficient storage capacity, and greater demand from more people. This has been a growing problem, but little was done, as at this point, to augment supply. So ,as we speak, there is little or no desalination, little or no recycling, little or no Aquifer harvesting, little or no dam augmentation. Even if they had that short term  relief  measures in place, it would only supply around 50 million litres a day , so the other 550 million litres would have to be trucked in with 30 000 tankers a day , that they do not have .

There is a lot of talk and disaster committees set up, but very little has actually been done. There was possibly R7 Million spent towards addressing the problem due to money shortages , but R30 Million is spent on soccer matches , R50 Million is spend on World Design Capital and a R200 million rand advertising budget, that is used to deceive people with false  information . The narrative of the well run city that is promoted by the advertising budget, is exposed by the facts on the water situation.

The facts are that all things being equal , in terms of water income and usage, we will run out of water in March 2018.  The only thing that the City is doing is a demand management strategy that is more advertising. The demand management strategy calls for people to only use 500 million litres a day, but people are currently using 640 million litres a day and it’s not even hot yet. There is a visit to people’s homes that use more than 100 kilo litres a month, which is above 600 litres per person per day in the average rich household. Yet the rest of the City is called upon to use 87 litres a day, with the only deterrent being cost, as if an increased bill will stop most of the rich from using more.  

The City is not putting the same usage restrictions on everyone that is equal and equitable. The city is not giving people water tanks, so they can harvest their own water. The City is not putting in place a sea water sanitation system that would significantly reduce the usage of fresh water in the City.

So Madam Mayor, it does not matter how much you crucify the messengers, there is a serious water crisis in Cape Town. This water crisis will lead to disease and death and conflict if not dealt with urgently. We need an urgent plan driven by leadership and collaboration. Insults are not going to build hope in a populace that is really concerned about the water crisis, in the well run City.

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 10 August 2017