Complaints lodged with the Human Rights Commission about Cape Town’s water crisis


Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Saturday said that it had received complaints from members of the public and organisations regarding the water crisis currently affecting the City of Cape Town.

SAHRC Gail Smith spokesperson said that the matter was discussed in a meeting between the Commission and the City officials on Friday.

“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,” Smith said.

The City and the province are faced with serious water challenges due a devastating drought and the province could run out  water supply in April if the region does not receive the much needed rains. The drought has affected several industries.

Smith said that the Commission would continue monitoring the crisis and that complaints received would not be registered.

“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.”

Earlier in the week, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille called on President Jacob Zuma to declare a national state disaster as a result of the water problem. The Western Cape government said that it had not received enough financial backing from the national government.

Smith said that the Commission would engage with all the involved parties “to bring about greater co-operation and ensure that efforts are directed at the resolution of this crisis.”