Informal settlements in Cape Town only use 4.7% of the city’s water. Picture: Flickr/Blackwych
Informal settlements in Cape Town only use 4.7% of the city’s water. Picture: Flickr/Blackwych

#WaterCrisis reality starts to hit township residents

By Yolisa Tswanya Time of article published Jan 31, 2018

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Residents of Khayelitsha are slowly coming on board as their ward councillors prepare them for Day Zero.

On Tuesday, the City announced Day Zero would be moved back by four days, and is now expected on April 16.

Residents are being urged to continue saving water and councillors from Khayelitsha said they have been raising awareness. Ward 9 councillor Bongile Ngcani said: “We are hearing now that it is a disaster, but us people from rural areas are used to going to get water in buckets from the river and walking to collect water, but we tell them about how they may have to adapt to doing that here.”

He said they urged residents to report water leaks and to use as little water as they can. “It will not be easy for them, but we believe they will be able to cope. There are a lot of sick people and they rely heavily on clean water.”

Ngcani said the City was warned a long time ago about the water crisis and said there should have been measures already in place.

Ward 91 councillor Thando Mpengezi said “We are seeing a change in their attitudes when it comes to using water better. There are some that are still not taking it seriously because they do not believe that we can run out of water.”

Shanice Appels from Mitchells Plain said she thinks Day Zero will affect residents of the Cape Flats more than other areas.

“It's going to lead to job losses since most factories won't be able to function, people will turn to crime even more than they already do and illnesses will spread among us. Most of us on the Cape Flats can't afford medical aid, so what will happen when the lines at the clinic are too long and supplies run out?

"What will happen when the factory doors close and aunties can't afford a loaf of bread? What will happen to us who can't afford Woolworths water?”

Appels said that the City did not work for those on the Cape Flats and only serviced the rich. “What the privileged fear the most is not the drought itself, but the fact that they will now get a taste of how we've been living all along, the madam will queue alongside her worker for water, you will wash in the wash bakkie and you won't be able to have your fancy facials because we have no water for such luxuries.”

She said people on the Cape Flats could not afford the increase in water rates and would not be able to buy water every week.

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Cape Argus

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