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Cape Town needs a national task team‚ Zille tells water minister

Cape Town premier Helen Zille.
Cape Town premier Helen Zille.

Premier Helen Zille has asked Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane to set up a national task team to manage Cape Town’s water crisis.

In a letter to Mokonyane‚ Zille said they should lead the team alongside Cape Town deputy mayor Ian Neilson‚ who was put in charge of the city council drought effort after the DA removed mayor Patricia de Lille from the role.

Zille’s spokesman‚ Michael Mpofu‚ said on Wednesday that Mokonyane had agreed to meet Zille next week.

“The letter follows the minister’s visit to Cape Town on the weekend‚ during which it was revealed that bulk water supply funding would not be forthcoming from national government‚ and that the Berg-River Voëlvlei scheme to augment Cape Town’s water supply would only come online by 2021‚” said Mpofu. Zille began her letter by agreeing with Mokonyane’s statement on Sunday to the Cape Town Press Club that the water crisis should not be politicised.

“No purpose is served by pointing fingers and attributing blame‚ politically or otherwise. We share a constitutional duty to safeguard our citizens’ fundamental rights‚ which must inform any action that we take‚” she said.

But she repeated her mantra of the last two weeks that Mokonyane’s department had a duty to maintain water supply to Cape Town even in times of drought and emergencies.

If the Department of Water and Sanitation declined to accept responsibility for augmentation of bulk water‚ it would constitute an unlawful abdication of responsibility‚ she said.

It should at least contribute to municipal and provincial emergency groundwater‚ desalination and recycling projects.

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