The ANC in the Western Cape has appealed to the national government to intervene urgently in the drought disaster.
The party said it had long warned the provincial government about the escalation of the drought, its effects and its impact on the economy and communities and called for a comprehensive approach in dealing with it.
These warnings were ignored and due to the provincial government's failure to respond appropriately, timeously and comprehensively to the crisis, Premier Helen Zille had now been forced to declare the Western Cape a disaster area, the party said.
“The DA’s failure to plan, put in place the necessary steps to minimise the drought’s impact on the economy, agricultural sector and communities, allocate sufficient resources and draft and approve a comprehensive water management and security plan are the real reasons why this ignored crisis has now escalated to emergency levels.
“We call on the national government to intervene in accordance with Section 100 of the constitution as a matter of urgency. We will be writing to the minister of water and sanitation, requesting her urgent intervention in order to prevent the disaster from escalating further and to ensure that the Western Cape’s response to this crisis is comprehensive, instead of unsustainable measures proposed by the provincial government,” a ANC statement reads.
A spokesperson for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell, James-Brent Styan, said: “We decry the petty politicking around a severe crisis affecting all citizens of the Western Cape.”
He said provincial government had been working very closely with the National Department of Water and Sanitation in managing this situation for more than a year already.
“One example of how pro-active we have been in managing the situation is the fact that we declared five disaster areas in January 2016 already - in co-operation with national government.
"Another example is the drilling of boreholes in some of the worst afflicted and most rural and poverty-stricken areas in the Western Cape, in order to ensure the people in those communities are not without water.
"These interventions have been done far from the city lights and sadly go largely unnoticed by some political parties and their representatives,” Styan said