Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA

A headline in the Cape Times on Wednesday, September 13, "City wants to close Newlands spring" is a travesty of justice and ill informed by the city's administration.

The poor and the needy in a civilised manner queue at the Newlands spring daily to find sustenance in the important natural water resources that sustain life. 

And any attempt by the City to take control over a natural water resource is a gross violation of the National Water Act and its related regulations. 

The national government is in control of the natural water flow on any land, in any part of the country including streams and rivers, as well as extracting groundwater.

Mayor Patricia de Lille and her executive need to consider the recovery of many millions of good natural water that continues to flow into the Liesbeek River only to find its way into the sea. 

It is our contention that the City has no plan in place on how to deal with the water crisis and requires national government to take control of the challenge of proper water demand management, as well as the safety aspects of ensuring that people have reasonable access to potable water. 

By penalising the community that it is supposed to serve and service with the necessary needs for a healthy and prosperous community to emerge, consideration by the City needs to be given to the social development of our youth and to the many entrepreneurs, sole traders and small business sectors, who are dependent on potable water for their livelihood and their valuable contributions to the economy. 

When the many new building construction programmes that remain a priority for the City for fear of losing the popularity that it enjoys with the financial institutions and corporate business sectors that are clearly enjoying our natural and potable water resources at the expense of our local communities, they ignore due process of law. And disregard the fact that people’s lives and health are at stake. 

The agricultural sectors are clearly using and abusing our natural and potable water resources, as they have inexpensive bulk-water supplies to their farms and the wastage factors in how they manoeuvre the water allocated to them are masterminded by the very people who claim to be responsible for food supplies to communities. 

This is blatantly untrue, as so many times the farmers plead poverty and have a lifeline supplied by the government in the form of grants.

Some farmers will use their water allocations and sell it to neighbouring farmers, not to mention the culture of non-payment of water that they quietly obtain from corrupt ways in overriding the meter that registers the water usage.

The City itself, the retail shopping malls and the big corporate buildings that serve the financial conglomerates and the major property developers, including the agricultural sectors that refuse to learn how to achieve maximum benefit from the usage and management of potable water, are the main culprits in the major wastage of our precious potable water supplies.

What is urgently needed by the City is to clearly take the community that it is supposed to serve in its care and confidence, and not to play the political role over the essential God given natural resources of water. 

The acute shortage of potable water in the Western Cape has been a factor for many decades. 

The provincial government as well as the local municipal authorities have dismally failed the people of the Mother City.

We need strong leadership to make things really happen that will ease the poverty strain on the masses of unemployed, poverty-stricken communities, while the frustration among our youth is at boiling point. 

The future in developing our youth is NOW!

Abdul Malick Ally

Tarim Social & Leadership Development