President Cyril Ramaphosa spent Mandela Day in Nelson Mandela Bay where he helped clean up the Swartkops River in Veeplaas.
Welcomed by hundreds of residents, Ramaphosa, joined by Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane and Nelson Mandela Bay mayor, Eugene Johnson, first started his day at the Nooitgedacht Water Treatment
Facility where he did an oversight inspection.
After the cleanup at Veeplaas, Ramaphosa addressed the media regarding looming Day Zero.
“On the western side we are seeing drought, drought that we haven’t seen in decades and decades so climate change is here. As a country, we have made certain commitments at a global level that we are going to address climate change and we have got a full programme that we are addressing at a number of levels. We are not just being reactive but proactive,” Ramaphosa explained.
He also expressed his satisfaction at the collaborative effort that is being made in the metro to push back dry taps as the metro continues to experience a severe drought that has already led to intermittent water supply in some parts of the city.
“I am satisfied with work and united efforts that are being made in Nelson Mandela Bay to avoid Day Zero. Let us continue to work together to make sure that the city does not run out of water,” he said.
He said that government is addressing not only this challenge, but also the electricity crisis. “I’ve had long meetings with the executives of Eskom, the managers of power stations and I’m continuing to have meetings with our own Departments of Minerals and Energy and Forestry and Fisheries, Finance, Public Enterprises and a whole lot of others. These meetings are ongoing and at the right time we will be able to say something but it will be soon,” Ramaphosa said.
The cleanup campaign that the president joined today forms part of the metro’s enhanced waste management strategy where the municipality partners with communities, businesses and other relevant government departments to implement sustainable cleaning projects across the city.
Johnson said that the city welcomed both the water related oversight work and the cleanup that the president participated in.
“We are pleased that the president decided to spend his Mandela Day with the community of Nelson Mandela Bay and take part in these two important assignments. This leaves us with much more resolve that we can overcome our challenges by working together,” she said.
“We are encouraged to continue with our efforts to fight illegal dumping in our city as the president has also joined us today to remember the good deeds of our icon, Nelson Mandela, whom we are named after as the city. It is only fitting that we roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty to change our city for the better.
“We are making a clarion call to our residents to reduce their water usage and stop illegal dumping. We are building this city for generations to come. Let’s save as much water as we possibly can and stop dumping as all this refuse ends up in our rivers and oceans,” she added.