Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane held a media briefing on Wednesday in which he discussed what was "really happening" regarding the water crisis in Cape Town. He attacked national government for not fulfilling their mandate to provide water.
Our mission is clear. We must defeat Day Zero.Mmusi Maimane
The hashtag #DefeatDayZero was on the agenda as Maimane briefed the crowd at the Joseph Stone Auditorium. He said it was time for decisive action.
His decisive action, he said, was taking political control of "our respective governments' responses to the situation" and assembling a #DefeatDayZero team to fight the water crisis.
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) January 24, 2018
As it stands, Day Zero has now been moved forward nine days to April 12. Public unhappiness and confusion over how the DA is running Cape Town and responding to the crisis motivated Maimane to get involved.
"All DA governments are accountable to me," he said. "I am not fully satisfied with the way the city has responded to the drought crisis – its communication, in particular, has fallen short.
He also said that "both the city and province are currently considering legal action to compel the national government to act".
However, while he was speaking, members of the audience disrupted Maimane, accusing him of "lying". The uproar followed his statement that national government was not fulfilling its mandate.
When things settled, Maimane went on to ask why more dams had not been built, saying it was a misconception that it was the role of the city of Cape Town to do so. Dam planning and building is a national government responsibility falling under the department of water and sanitation and the department of public works.
Why have more dams have not been built?— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) January 24, 2018
There is a misconception that this is the role of a city.
"Let me be very, very clear. It is the constitutional mandate of national government to deliver water to all municipalities." - @Mmusimaimane #DefeatDayZero
"The Western Cape as a whole needs the national government to play its legally mandated role to ensure greater water security.— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) January 24, 2018
And I will be taking the fight to national government to make sure that it fulfils this role." - @MmusiMaimane
"Long ago, the City put in place a strategy to reduce water losses from its pipe network, reducing such losses to 14%, well below the international average, & well below the average of 37% for municipalities in South Africa." - @MmusiMaimane #DefeatDayZero pic.twitter.com/6eq50TyVAv— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) January 24, 2018
Prior to #DefeatDayZero, Western Cape premier Helen Zille had publicly blamed water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane and her department for not finding solutions to the water crisis in the province.
She has been nowhere. The Department has no money. Bankrupt. Worst audit outcome in the country -- billions on unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. They didn't even undertake the projects they had committed to, let alone their mandate of bulk water supply.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 23, 2018
Maimane went on to explain the solutions being implemented to fix the water crisis, and said the DA would unapologetically "go after" residents who for no good reason exceed their allocation.
How the DA intended to do this, when they cannot determine per-capita usage from total household usage without knowing the exact numbers residing on each property, he did not explain.