Cape Town - DA leader Mmusi Maimane says he has requested an urgent meeting with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to work on solutions to tackle Cape Town's water woes and defeat Day Zero.
Cape Town is currently battling the worst drought in history. It is predicted that the city will hit “Day zero” on April 12, the period when all taps will be turned off and residents expected to access water from 200 designated pick-up points.
Maimane acknowledged that Cape Town was not the first city to be hit by a drought, but said it requires urgent attention.
Maimane said: “I would also like to discuss with the Deputy President how best we can collaborate and tackle other water crises across the country, where water infrastructure projects are behind schedule, or non-existent,”
Maimane also said it is crucial that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, and the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane form part of the meeting to address the financing model for water supply, and national government's plans around funding and bulk water infrastructure.
On Sunday, Mokonyane assured Capetonians that it will work closely with the City to ensure that it defeats Day Zero.
She further cautioned against politicising the water crisis, and called for leaders from different political parties to work together.
Maimane said he is willing to work with “anyone who is committed to avoiding Day Zero regardless of political affiliation,”
“DA governments are doing everything they can in response to the crisis. The national interest must be put ahead of individual or party political interests. Now is the time to unite to defeat Day Zero,” said Maimane.
He said the DA will engage with leaders from different sectors to discuss private sector funding of water projects in the short and medium term.
The Western Cape Government has dedicated over R369 million in funding towards disaster interventions which will including water supply projects, drought relief for farmers and water security measures at key government service points.
This comes national government did not come forward to help the City with funding water projects, and remained firm that the City can defeat Day Zero by simply saving water.
Maimane however said the party might take the national government to court, to force it into providing the necessary funding.