The South African Human Rights Commission says that far from the situation reported following a media conference by DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday‚ it can confirm that the City of Cape Town does indeed have a water plan.
Recognising however that the situation changed daily in line with consumption of water and that the city’s plans were as a consequence being amended daily‚ the city could not responsibly release its plans‚ the SAHRC said in a statement on Saturday.
"The main part of that plan‚ which requires the co-operation of all residents and businesses‚ is to make the current supply of water last for as long as possible — hence the water restrictions‚" human rights watchdog said.
"The most important part of the plan‚ not just at this time but going forward and taking into consideration the unpredictable impact of climate change on the weather and rainfall patterns of the City‚ is that all residents embrace the new normal of water wise consumption‚" it added.
Saying it had been monitoring the water crisis unfolding in the city following complaints from various individuals and organisations‚ the commission said it had met with the relevant officials from the City of Cape Town on Friday and been reassured that the measures being taken by the city were "well considered and are in the best interests of the people of Cape Town".
"The Commission has fully familiarised itself with the situation on the ground through its own efforts and confirms that the situation is as dire as stated by the City‚ but that if all residents of the City commit to using 50 litres of water per person Day Zero can be postponed."
The commission said it would continue to monitor the process and engage with all parties during this time of crisis and would be releasing regular statements regarding the situation as it had noted with concern the amount of conflicting information which is available on the issue.
"The Commission will accordingly‚ in the exercise of its Constitutional mandate and as guardian of the Bill of Rights‚ not register complaints received in regard to this issue; but will instead focus on obtaining the information required by the people of Cape Town‚ providing support to government to ensure its state of readiness should Day Zero be reached‚" the SAHRC said.
It added: "The Commission has noted with concern media reports which appear to indicate tension between the different spheres of government regarding the water crisis. The Commission will engage the parties in order to bring about greater co-operation and ensure that efforts are directed at the resolution of this crisis. Recriminations and blame-shifting do not inspire confidence in our leaders and this confidence will be needed in the coming months."
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