Greenpeace implores The President of South Africa to declare Cape Town a national disaster

Press release - February 6, 2018
Johannesburg, 6 February 2018 - Greenpeace Africa began a petition calling on the President of South Africa to declare the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces national disaster areas. Within in 10 days, 2769 citizens of South Africa and the international community have sent an email containing the petition directly to the office of the Presidency.

The residents of Port Elizabeth and Cape Town are living under some of the harshest water restrictions experienced in these metros to date. Since 1 February, residents of Cape Town have been restricted to 50 liters of water a day. The threat of Day Zero, when water will no longer be provided to homes, is becoming an inevitable reality.

“Declaring the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces national disaster areas is the only way to ensure that every government structure can mobilise the necessary resources to respond effectively. The fact that this has not happened is a catastrophic failure in leadership at a time when South Africans need it most” stated Melita Steele, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.

South Africa is an already water scarce country, and climate change will continue to make this situation worse. The severe drought and water crisis faced by the people of Cape Town and the Western and Eastern Cape provinces is not an isolated incidence. The Gauteng province is currently implementing Level 1 Water Restrictions, as the Katse and Mohale dams located in Lesotho, which supply the majority of water to Johannesburg and Pretoria, dip to 32%. This is a sure sign of the “new normal” that faces South Africa and many other countries around the world.

“Day Zero is a looming reality for Cape Town, but it is not the only city in South Africa facing water restrictions. Water availability must become the core of decision-making since it is a key development constraint. Climate change impacts must be considered in integrated water resource management and design of new projects, particularly water availability and water supply scenarios. Crises such as the extreme drought impacting South Africans must be viewed as an opportunity to reassess how we use this critical resource to ensure that all communities have dignified and secure access to water in the future. All South Africans need to start taking decisive actions to change the way we think about and use water” concluded Steele.

Media contact: 

; Greenpeace Africa Communications Officer: Climate and Energy; +2782 614 2676