AfriForum and WSSA implement emergency water plan in Cape Town

The drought that has the whole country in its grip compelled the civil rights organisation AfriForum to come up with a water plan. The first phase of this plan involves the establishing of emergency water points in Cape Town to provide vulnerable people in the community with water when #DayZero arrives. The first water point will be erected at AfriForum’s sister organisation Solidarity Helping Hand’s donation offices in Cape Town.

Three water points are planned in Cape Town. The first is a 10 000-litre water tank that will provide water to people of the community daily on Mondays to Saturdays. The tank will be filled with donated water that complies with SANS 241 standards. The other two water points will each provide 20 000 litres of water daily. AfriForum branches will distribute water disinfecting products in areas where there is a risk of water pollution. Plastic bottles can be taken to these water points to be recycled.

“In addition to this project, AfriForum is closely working with Water Shortage South Africa (WSSA) in a bid to curb the water crisis. Communities should start taking part in their towns’ water management to prevent future water sharing and to ensure a more independent, sustainable water supply,” says Marcus Pawson, Head of AfriForum.

According to Benoit Le Roy, CEO of WSSA, the organisation is currently collecting bottled spring water in Gauteng from over two dozen drop-off points. The water was donated entirely by individuals, religious organisations and companies. Loads are consolidated by volunteers and sent to Cape Town by donated transport for distribution to vulnerable people.

“We have managed to move more than 100 000 litres each week for the past two weeks to Cape Town to keep the vulnerable hydrated. WSSA believes that Cape Town is indeed “Ground Zero”: Only 50 litres per person available daily for a major modern city of four million habitants who are facing a looming Day Zero. We decided to team up again with AfriForum, as together we are able to help the vulnerable in our society more effectively,” says Le Roy.

AfriForum’s country-wide branch structures are used to collect water, while the Cape Town branch will manage water points. AfriForum’s environmental affairs division will monitor the sustainability of water resources and donations, as well as ensure water quality. AfriForum’s community safety division will establish a joint operations centre to secure water points, and will also perform risk analyses. Lastly, AfriForum’s local government division will liaise with municipalities to keep them updated with the organisation’s activities.

AfriForum’s Anti-Corruption Unit is also in the process of investigating the national Department of Water and Sanitation, and criminal charges will be laid against the accountable officer of this department should the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act 1 of 1999) have been violated. It would be unacceptable for the Department to mismanage tax money while it refuses drought relief.

This emergency water plan has been successfully implemented in the past in among other Calvinia, Kroonstad, Senekal, Biesiesvlei and Paulpietersburg, when water provision was limited there. In all these cases, AfriForum provided clean drinking water, while Government was put under pressure and more sustainable, long-term water projects were implemented.

Anyone who wants to make a financial donation to AfriForum’s emergency water fund can visit AfriForum’s website at People who want to make other donations, such as making available storerooms and forklifts, vehicles, the transportation of water or a water source like a borehole, can contact AfriForum directly on 086 10 200 30.

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