South Africans need decisive leadership to ensure that major contingency plans be in place to offset an imminent disaster that might result from Cape Town’s deepening water crisis, the opposition said on Monday.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) reiterated its call for the central government to intervene to prevent Cape Town’s water crisis from developing into a disaster.

The City of Cape Town, administered by the DA, has been hit by the worst drought in history. The city has announced April 21 as Day Zero when dams will run dry, water taps will be turned off and all residents will have to collect water from more than 200 designated places.

DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation Leon Basson said managing a drought is a national competency, blaming the Department of Water and Sanitation for failing to properly maintain and upgrade the country’s aging water infrastructure.

In a related development, Western Cape Provincial Premier Helen Zille on Monday urged South African President Jacob Zuma to declare Cape Town’s water crisis “a national disaster.”

Zille has met with representatives from the South African National Defense Force, South African Police Service, State Security Agency and the other agencies to map the way forward in managing the crisis.

Last week, the city announced 6B water restrictions, limiting water usage per person per day to 50 liters for the next 150 days.

Level 6B restrictions will also limit irrigation using boreholes and wellpoints.

The new restrictions will come into effect on Feb. 1.

The city has also introduced punitive tariff on families using more than 6,000 liters per month.

As the second-most populous urban area in South Africa after Johannesburg, Cape Town is the capital of the Western Cape Province and the seat of South Africa’s Parliament, with a population of about 6 million.

More than 5 million domestic and international tourists visit the city every year. Enditem



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