Category Archives: South Africa

We Have Seen The Future of Water, And It Is Cape Town

by Peter H. Gleick
Guest Writer
Huffington Post (2/9/2018)

Morgana Wingard via Getty Images
Cape Town residents queue to refill water bottles on Jan. 30, 2018. Diminishing water supplies may soon lead to the taps being turned off for the four million inhabitants of Cape Town. (Morgana Wingard via Getty Images)

Cape Town is parched. Severe drought and high water use have collided in South Africa’s second largest city, and unless the drought breaks, residents may run out of water in the next few months when there simply isn’t enough water left to supply the drinking water taps.

In response to this looming “Day Zero” currently projected in May? city managers have imposed new and unprecedented restrictions, including limiting residential water use to 50 liters (around 13 gallons) per person per day. They released plans to open 200 community water points to provide emergency water in the event of a shutoff – for four million people. As the crisis worsens, water scarcity will sharpen South Africa’s economic inequalities, inflaming tensions between wealthier and disadvantaged communities.

Cape Town is not alone. Water crises are getting worse all over the world. The past few years have seen more and more extreme droughts and floods around the globe. California just endured the worst five-year drought on record, followed by the wettest year on record. São Paulo, Brazil, recently suffered a severe drought that drastically cut water supplies to its 12 million inhabitants – a drought that also ended in heavy rainfall, which caused extreme flooding. Houston was devastated in 2017 by Hurricane Harvey, the most extreme precipitation event to hit any major city in the United States.

Severe droughts and floods. Water rationing. Economic and political disruption. Urban taps running dry. Is this the future of water?

Any city, in building a water system, tries to prepare for extreme weather, including floods and droughts. It also considers estimates of future population growth, projections of water use and a host of other factors. Cape Town’s water system is a relatively sophisticated one, with six major storage reservoirs, pipelines, water treatment plants and an extensive distribution network. Its water managers, and South Africa’s overall water expertise, are among the best in the world.

The problem is that the traditional approach for building and managing water systems rests on two key assumptions. The first is that there is always more supply to be found, somewhere, to satisfy growing populations and growing water demand. The second is that the climate isn’t changing.

Neither of these assumptions is true any longer.

Many regions of the world, as in Cape Town, have reached “peak water” limits and find their traditional sources tapped out. Many rivers are dammed and diverted to the point that they no longer reach the sea. Groundwater is over pumped at rates faster than nature can replenish. And massive long-distance transfers of water from other watersheds are increasingly controversial because of high costs, environmental damages and political disagreements.

Read We Have Seen The Future of Water, And It Is Cape Town


Peter H. Gleick is a climate and water scientist, co-author of The World’s Water, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

New South African alliance calls for Zuma’s exit

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Sister Brigid Rose Tiernan, SNDdeN holds the sign — “Zuma you are accountable.” Photo: Joan Mumau, IHM

AFP

Johannesburg (AFP) – South African opposition parties, religious groups and civil society activists on Thursday launched a new alliance to try to force President Jacob Zuma to step down.

Called the Freedom Movement and backed by retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, it plans to hold a mass rally on April 27, the annual holiday marking South Africa’s first post-apartheid election in 1994.

Zuma’s sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last month fanned years of public anger over government corruption scandals, record unemployment and slowing economic growth.

“Never before has there been a more urgent need to build unity of purpose to stop South Africa’s current trajectory,” said the movement at its launch in Soweto, a hotbed of the struggle against apartheid.

Tutu, seen as the country’s leading moral authority, said in a tweet that he supported the movement, adding “it is important that we unite as South Africans to bring an end to state capture.”

“State capture” is a term that refer to the alleged corruption among Zuma and his associates.

Tens of thousands of South Africans have in recent weeks staged demonstrations demanding Zuma’s resignation.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance party and several small opposition parties backed the alliance as well as some trade unions and the National Religious Council.

Malema and other political parties must stop ‘the war talk’

Southern Africa Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Justice and Peace Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has called on all political parties to avoid making statements that could incite election violence and civil war.Bishop Abel Gabuza‚ the chairperson of the SACBC Justice and Peace Commission‚ issued the call on Monday in response to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema‚ who said during a televised interview that if the ANC continues to respond violently to peaceful protests‚ “We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun” Continue reading Malema and other political parties must stop ‘the war talk’

STATEMENT ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING: NKANDLA

This morning the Constitutional Court delivered a judgment in the Nkandla Application. In summary the Court found the following:

o   That the recommendations of the Public Protector were binding
o   That the binding nature of the Public Protector’s remedial action is determined on a case-by-case basis with regard to the nature of the dispute
o   That the Public Protector’s remedial action cannot merely be ignored
o   That the National Assembly’s institution of a parallel process was not itself unlawful but that in attempting to replace the binding report of the Public Protector, the National Assembly acted unconstitutionally and in breach of its duty to hold the executive accountable
o   That the President should pay back a reasonable portion of the money spent on non-security upgrades and reprimand the responsible ministers for their role in the project.
o   That the President acted unlawfully and in breach of his constitutional duties to the Republic Continue reading STATEMENT ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING: NKANDLA

South Africa: Jesuit Institute urges ANC to ‘act for the common good’

Independent Catholic News

The Jesuit Institute has issued the following statement today:

The African National Congress (ANC) has historically shown leadership in challenging times. In the early 90’s the leadership of the ANC courageously took the steps needed to bring South Africa back from the brink of civil war. Now, more than ever since then, the ANC needs to courageously steer the country through a mounting crisis: allegations that President Jacob Zuma ceded his executive power to his rich friends – the Gupta family. These allegations are serious because they are a gross violation of his oath of office in which he promises to devote himself to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people. Continue reading South Africa: Jesuit Institute urges ANC to ‘act for the common good’

South Africa: Zuma delivers “no hope” State of the Nation

African Arguments
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South African President Jacob Zuma has delivered his annual State of the Nation address in the country’s parliament. After more than an hour of disruptions and interruptions, mostly by members of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, Zuma finally got down to business. Or did he?

The Conversation Africa’s Politics and Society editor Thabo Leshilo and Voice of Wits presenter Tsholofelo Semenya put some questions to Professor Susan Booysen. You can listen to the audio or read the transcript below.

(Download) Continue reading South Africa: Zuma delivers “no hope” State of the Nation

South African Maize Silos Dried By Deepening Drought

News from Africa

David Wamuha

safSouth Africa is quickly running out of maize as the El Nino drought deepens. Like many other countries in southern Africa, South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in decades. As the current crop withers due to extreme heat and little rainfall, food prices are rising and may be out of reach for million.

A devastating drought caused by adverse effects of El Nino has left South Africa exposed to a serious food security threat. El Nino is a global climate phenomenon characterized by the warming of ocean surface temperatures in equatorial parts of the Pacific and recurs every few years. Continue reading South African Maize Silos Dried By Deepening Drought