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Mokonyane says water crisis should not be politicised

The Western Cape's average dam level stands at just over 20% as the province battles the worst drought since 1904.

FILE: Water & Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has appealed to parties not to politicise the water crisis in the Western Cape.

She visited the Theewaterskloof Dam on Thursday, which is just 14% full.

The Western Cape's average dam level stands at just over 20% as the province battles the worst drought since 1904.

Mayor Patricia de Lille says the City of Cape Town is currently expanding emergency water supply schemes at a cost of more than R300 million.

De Lille on Thursday hosted an interfaith pray for rain service at the foot of Table Mountain. Various religious leaders gathered for the interfaith prayer service, each getting a chance to pray for rain.

WATCH: Praying for rain: Religious leaders gather at Table Mountain

This after a drought disaster was declared in the Western Cape this week with the average dam level at just over 20%.

While some parties, including the African National Congress in the Western Cape and Congress of South African Trade Unions, have accused the provincial government of not doing enough to avoid the water crisis, Mokonyane says no one could have forecast the drought.

“You must not politicise the water scarcity. It’s a fact that we’re the thirtieth driest country. It’s a fact that there’s global warming and climate change, and the rainfall patterns have changed.”

She has commended Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and others across the Western Cape for tackling the crisis head-on by enforcing the necessary measures.

But Mokonyane adds she feels the provincial government should have declared a drought disaster sooner after the declaration was made last week.

Experts say two normal rainy seasons are needed to fill Theewaterskloof to capacity.

Mayor De Lille says the City of Cape Town's emergency plans include drilling boreholes in the Table Mountain aquifer and other measures.

She adds they'll also make available a platform next month, where the public can share water saving ideas.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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