Prayers and protests in response to Day Zero
(This article was first published on 27 January 2018 in the Weekend Argus, a weekly regional newspaper distributed in the Western Cape, South Africa.)
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
The City of Cape Town has shifted Day Zero to April 12, saying residents are still not saving enough water.
City officials said dam levels dropped by 1,4% and residents need to use 50 litres per person per day for 150 days at least if Day Zero is to be averted.
“Our main focus at this point must be on what we can do now to prevent our taps running dry by April. By joining us in our water-saving drive, you, your friends, neighbours, colleagues and social groups can help us to avoid Day Zero,” said the city.
The city’s water levels can be monitored on the website http://coct.co/water-dashboard/
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), the organisation that oversees Islamic affairs in the Western Cape, is hosting a special prayer for rain on Sunday.
The MJC has called Muslims to gather for Salāh tul Istisqaa at Spine Road High School in Mitchells Plain on Sunday at 8am.
“The rains are withheld from us because Allah wants us to turn to him in sincere taubah (repent) and istighfaar (forgiveness) and to transform our lives in a meaningful way,” said the MJC.
The Cape Town Water Crisis Coalition has called locals to protest at the civic centre on the foreshore on Sunday at 2:30pm.
The coalition has been hosting public meetings to raise awareness about what it alleges is the City of Cape Town’s water crisis failure.
“If you cannot come to the civic centre, organise a mass protest in your area, form a human chain in groups in your main roads,” said the coalition.
The coalition also plans to attend a council meeting next Wednesday to “raise voices of the masses against the undemocratic process” relating to the water crisis.
The national water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane is scheduled to address the Cape Town Press Club on the drought crisis on Sunday.
Mokoyane has been in this cabinet position since 2014 and previously served as Gauteng premier. Her address is scheduled for Kelvin Grove, Newlands, from 10:30am.
Cape Town Tourism chief executive Enver Duminy said the water crisis was putting off prospective visitors who “are looking for clarity regarding contingency plans for Day Zero”.
“As long as there is uncertainty about the water crisis, there will be an impact,” said Duminy.
The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that travel and tourism, directly and indirectly, contributed more than R400 billion or about 9.3 % to South Africa’s gross domestic product in 2016 and more or less the same last year.
Duminy said Cape Town Tourism had been part of a campaign since the start of the water crisis to both reduce water usage in tourism businesses and to convey the message visitors.
“This is in addition to practical measures the accommodation industry has taken such as removing bath plugs and encouraging guests to take two-minute showers, and reducing laundry routines,” he said.
“Besides the hotels, tourism businesses are acutely aware of the need for water conservation.”
Source: African News Agency