Letters to the editor: February 16 to 22

Water smart – and silly

The water shortages facing South Africa, and the Cape provinces in particular, have driven long-overdue debates about what we, as a country, need to do to augment our meagre water resources.

As a water-scarce country with a growing population, South Africa needs to find more ways than what is currently on offer.

Desalination is seen by some as unsafe and a serious health risk to communities. Yet desalination has widely been used by water-stressed countries to augment their water resources. Desalination has been a major source of water in countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. The International Desalination Association said last year that 18 426 desalination plants operate worldwide, producing 86.8-million cubic metres a day and providing water for 300-million people.

The controversy about desalination has led to some citizens, especially in drought-stricken areas, rejecting this option. More is done to dispel the myths about it.

More needs to be made of the success of the portable desalination plant now up and running in Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. The positive response of the residents there debunks the idea that desalinated water is unhealthy. This water has been tested by experts and the plant provides an extra 10 megalitres of clean drinking water a day.

Cape Town is home to many multinational companies and is a leading tourist destination. If the city is without water for months, it would have a profound effect on the livelihoods of those in the tourism sector.

The department of water and sanitation is making efforts to augment water resources through desalination. This does not mean that harnessing and storing of water take a back seat. We continue to urge the public to save water. — Sifiso Mkhize, acting director general, department of water and sanitation

■ Caron von Zeil’s “Reclaim Camissa” project (“Ancient water could solve modern crisis”) may be an excellent idea from an historical-restoration point of view, but any claim that the water could “solve” the crisis is pie in the sky.

Indeed, in June 2013 the Cape Times carried a similar article under the headline “Cape’s spring water wasted”.

Von Zeil’s own figures quoted in the article show that the total recoverable water would, at best, supply 3.3% of Cape Town’s daily water use, or 0.8 litres of your personal 25 litres after Day Zero — at a very substantial cost.


Von Zeil’s impressive-sounding 800 cubic metres per 24 hours is only 800 kilolitres — 0.15% of the city’s daily need, or about an eggcupful of water per inhabitant.

A lovely restoration project but definitely not a solution to anyone’s water crisis. — Peter Slingsby, Cape Town


The ANC has paralysed South Africa

Poor insight mars “Brace for one week before Zexit”. When will South Africans wake up? The state is captured by the ANC. Never mind the disastrous cadre-employment of the incapable.

We have several ANC leaders telling us they have to wait to rid themselves of the architect of sleaze. The article is the usual he-said, she-said. Journalists should make sense of things, not drivel on. Mr Mumble Mantashe is quoted as saying the people are wrong, asking that we “allow the ANC to deal with its own problems”. It is South Africa’s problem, not one confined to the fat cats.

We had the old nonsense that “we must find a way for President Zuma to leave with dignity” from false messiah Cyril Ramaphosa. The reasons are many. But the most important is that the ANC wants to continue running the country.

One of the new bosses at Luthuli House tells the mining companies that Zuma said: “I’m not going anywhere.” The sad part is that the ANC MPs, who can remove the president, are thinking of their next meal out of the trough. Hopefully, not many of them will be there after 2019.

South Africa is in a mess because of the voting system — a system that favours voting for a party. We all know that the ruling party is abusing its position. This disrespects voters.

It’s time for South Africa to be a democracy. Universal suffrage is the first step, but there it stopped. ANC politicians such as Gwede Mantashe are blatant: “People should not interfere with state affairs.” Parliament’s job is to call the president to order and remove him. It’s not the job of some small gang in Luthuli House.

Wake up, South Africa.

MPs are your elected representatives. Only when we have MPs with constituencies, with each accountable to constituents, will things change. MPs will have to answer to their constituents, who can vote them out for looting and so on.

Only then will a president, who has disgraced his office, go. The thievery, scandals and crimes of these unfit people will have consequences at the ballot box. The ANC has paralysed the country. — Tom Morgan

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