Coalition calls for protests

The Water Crisis Coalition Team gathered with residents from across Cape Town to discuss the way forward on Saturday March 23 at the Tafelsig Community Centre.

At a meeting held over the weekend, residents of Mitchell’s Plain said they want to take the issue of water to “the next level” and expressed their frustration about how the water crisis was handled.

While Day Zero has been pushed back to 2019, the Water Crisis Coalition – formed about two months ago in response to the City of Cape Town’s Day Zero campaign – continues to tackle water-related matters such as billing leaks, natural springs and aquifers, the City’s administration practices – and the fact that in some parts of the city, people are already facing Day Zero because they don’t have access to water.

Water Crisis Coalition committee member, Shaheed Mahomed, 54, from Athlone, who chaired the meeting, held on Saturday March 24, said the City had agreed to meet the coalition team in Tafelsig this week at a date and venue still to be confirmed.

The coalition team has encouraged the community to form street committees to take up matters such as “unfair billing” and leaks which are unattended to.

Mr Mahomed said the Coalition would be supporting the South African Federation of Trade Unions’ planned march to Parliament on Wednesday April 25. While this march would be primarily focused on labour-related matters, the Coalition planned to bring its concerns about water matters to the table. These would include water supply being cut off for more than 24 hours, desalination and restricted access to water.

He also called on residents to plan water-related protests in their own communities on Freedom Day, Friday April 27.

Woodlands resident Marcus Solomon, 79, from the Children’s Resource Centre said: “We need to equip our young people to be involved in this crisis. They can learn how to do plumbing and fix the leaks themselves. If we utilise and educate our young people more they can innovate new ways of combating the issue of water.”

Adrian Bothma, 24, from Lentegeur said: “I was part of the #feesmustfall movement at Stellenbosch University and from a young person’s perspective we are grateful for the fight fought by you, the older generation. We did the same thing during #feesmustfall and it worked for us. It was during exams that we made things ungovernable in order for our demands to be met.”

Mastoera Collops, 54, from Tafelsig who is part of the Tafelsig Activist Forum, said: “I am concerned about where my money is going for water as well as electricity. Back in the day we could survive on a R20 to make a pot of food for our family but today we are struggling more than we did back when we were younger.

“I am frustrated that we have reached this point but something needs to be done and it all needs to stop. We cannot go on like this as it is affecting us immensely.”

For more information about the coalition and its planned protest action, follow the Water Crisis Coalition Group on Facebook or email watercrisiscoalition@gmail.com with more queries and concerns.