CAPE TOWN – Democratic Alliance and African National Congress MPLs took turns in blaming each other over the causes of the Western Cape drought.The Western Cape legislature debated the crippling effects of the current drought in the province on Thursday. The drought was described by Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, as the “worst in the province”, in terms of the number of people who were affected.
DA MPL Beverley Schäfer said the Western Cape government only received 2.5% of the national department’s R16bn budget, a “slap in the face” of six million people.
“This is a department that is now bankrupt and spends almost 44% of its budget servicing the debt of various unfinished water projects in South Africa.
“It comes as no surprise that this severely mismanaged department has failed the Western Cape and our water needs.”
She admitted the party could not have adequately predicted the drought in the province, but that efforts made since had been thwarted by the national government.
‘This DA government pretends never to be wrong’
“We could have begun effective drought relief almost a year ago had national government heeded our calls and delivered on their mandate when they governed in the province.”
ANC MPL Trudy Dijana hit back immediately.
“This DA government pretends never to be wrong, and looks for someone else to blame at national level,” Dijana said, accusing the DA of playing to the gallery.
“Let us rather work towards solutions and save lives,” she said.
She then immediately proceeded to accuse the DA of failing to act on the decline of dam levels, or in implementing a desalination plan sooner.
“We all suffer from the same drought, and future generations will judge the DA for the lack of this basic commodity.”
She finished by saying the DA was trying to cash in on emergency drought funds, before doing an about turn and accusing Zille of waiting four years to declare a disaster in order to avoid irregular expenditure.
Also read: Don’t panic about Western Cape ‘drought disaster’ – Zille Bredell said even scientists did not have the tools to accurately predict rainfall patterns.
He said various projects had already been approved, and the Western Cape government would secure water for its people.
‘Came here with no solutions’
“We need three to four years rain to return to a normal situation. You say we must build dams, but it was your ANC minister who said two years ago that there is a shortage because we have two big dams.
“It’s a shame that honourable Dijana came here with a political speech, but came here with no solutions.”
ANC MPL Carol Beerwinkel said the City of Cape Town looked set to deliver on its “laid back perception” as it dealt with the water shortage in the metro.
Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde wrapped up, saying the city had a tender going out in August for a 100Ml/d desalination plant.
He also claimed that a desalination plant had been built in Lamberts Bay three years ago, by one of President Jacob Zuma’s sons, that had not delivered a single litre of water.
“Don’t come here and play politics when you know your own national department is failing.”
TOP PHOTO: Ruling ANC and the DA trade blame as cause of the current water crises rocking the Western Cape. Image: Peter Okafor/ExpressCapetown