27/01/2018 07:01 SAST | Updated 27/01/2018 07:03 SAST

Water Crisis: Take Responsibility, Mokonyane Tells Western Cape Government

Provincial and local governments should have handled reticulation better, says Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane.

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Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane attends a press conference regarding the service delivery protests that have swept the nation, March 11, 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has urged the Western Cape government to take responsibility in dealing with the provincial #WaterCrisis, rather than blame the national government.

This after both Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille on Wednesday said the responsibility for bulk water supply lay with her ministry.

Mokonyane was in Parliament on Friday for a meeting with members from civil society, the water sector, and officials from the City and province, on Cape Town's plans to avoid Day Zero.

Before the closed session, she told journalists that the national government wants to intervene, and provincial and local governments must "put away the politics".

"We can only avoid Day Zero if all of us make a meaningful contribution, if all of us put the politics away, and those of us responsible for the constitutional right with regards to water is prioritised."

There has simply been no rain in the Cape, and so provincial and local governments should have handled reticulation better, she said.

We want, we want, we want the Western Cape government to take responsibility on dealing with the issues on water demand, because that is where the weakness is.

"The restrictions have not been adhered to, and we need to make sure the designs and alternatives are being looked at."

'I'm not at war with anyone'

Mokonyane said she was "very good at playing politics", but she did not come to Cape Town to argue with other political parties, but to work together with the various stakeholders.

"I'm not at war with anyone. We should be at war with water loss, that's why we are here.

"Those who are the bigger water users, like the irrigation sector, we would like them to come to the party.

"There is no substitute, there is no alternative source of water, except us protecting the little that we have and working together without pointing fingers and playing politics."

Her department is currently reviewing water-use licenses for treatment plants and had been helping the City with its aquifer project under executive mayor Patricia de Lille.

She did not elaborate further.

De Lille had her powers in dealing with the crisis stripped last Friday by the Cape Town city council.

When asked about declaring the area a "national disaster", she said the area had already been declared both a local and provincial disaster in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Mokonyane was adamant Day Zero could be avoided if Capetonians worked together, giving enough time for the City's alternative projects to kick in in May 2018.

The national department will continue to provide water-tankering and water from spring catchments to the areas that have historically not had access to water in the Cape.

Mokonyane will embark on a walk-about in properties in and around Cape Town on Saturday, to inspect compliance of water usage in the identified areas.

-- News24