The Western Cape Water Crisis

The Western Cape is experiencing one of its severest droughts in a long time, not that this is a new phenomenon. Water scarcity in Southern Africa has indeed been in the headlines for many years. Drought conditions are therefore not restricted to the Western Cape alone but occurs across the entire region, also affecting other provinces in South Africa. Although a number of experts warned the Western Cape provincial government for the last 15 years of the impending crisis, no one took pro-active steps against the threat. The situation last year forced the City of Cape Town (CCT)  to  introduce various water restrictions on the community, because of the drought. Clearly, poor planning and sheer incompetence lies at the basis of this situation.

The restrictions are of such a nature that people felt aggrieved by certain calculations that the CCT made to determine excessive use by households.  There are vast differences between  a “middle class” family consisting on average of 4 people, and a working class household that has backyard wendy-houses and where extended families live on the same plot. One water usage meter services between 10 – 20 people, and this is not taken into account when letters warning of excessive use and fines are issued to these households.

In her reply to an article (politicsweb, 19 September 2017) by a journalist from the Cape Times, Helen Zille conceded that the usage calculation of the CCT is problematic because people do not take into account that there is daily, plus-minus 30 people at the premier’s house. This is an indication of how the water crisis impacts on large groups of people within one household, who are then abused by government officials.

The constitution of South Africa recognises that Housing and Water are basic needs. All spheres of government write nice policies, but fail to plan and implement these plans to the benefit of the whole population. The Western Cape water crisis is but one struggle around which progressive forces can organise and rally across the country to rid society of self-serving elites.

Share The Western Cape Water Crisis with others: