Magda Wierzycka asks Ramaphosa to intervene in Cape Town water crisis

26 January 2018 - 17:00 By Ernest Mabuza
Image: Gallo Images/iStockphoto

Businesswoman Magda Wierzycka has called on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the water shortage crisis facing Cape Town.

Wierzycka‚ who is CEO of Sygnia‚ wrote an open letter to Ramaphosa in which she said crisis had the potential to generate more negative headlines about South Africa.

“It will bring the economy of the Western Cape to its knees‚ crush tourism‚ affect economic growth‚ destroy jobs and become a case study of how to mismanage a world-class city‚” Wierzycka said.

The city said it might run out of water by April 12 this year.

She said the emergency plans‚ which involve 200 water collection points around the city from which people will fetch and carry 25 litres of water per person‚ were logistically and economically unfeasible.

She said a more likely scenario was the closure of small businesses‚ restaurants and hotels‚ an exodus of people from the Western Cape‚ increasing unemployment‚ rising crime levels and potentially deaths as a result of unhygienic environments.

“Cape Town needs intervention from the highest level. We need an emergency plan‚ be it a last-minute one.”

She said there were still options available to avert the situation but there was no time to waste.

“We need your guidance and the resources of the national treasury to ensure that the worst-case scenario does not materialise‚” Wierzycka said.

Ramaphosa seemed to be set to take charge on the water crisis in Cape Town.

Speaking to CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour on Thursday‚ Ramaphosa said the country was facing a disaster and‚ in Cape Town‚ four million people would be affected.

“I’m going to corral as many people as possible to put our heads together and see exactly what we should be doing not only in the immediate term but also in the longer term. But in the immediate term we have got to make sure that we bring water to the people of Cape Town without any fail‚” Ramaphosa said.