One of the South African government’s key priorities will be infrastructure maintenance which was cited as one of the reasons for the water crisis in the Western Cape province, Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, said on Thursday.

Cape Town faces the prospect of running out of water within the next three months as key dams feeding the city are virtually empty. Day Zero, the day when the taps run dry, has been brought forward to April 12.

Speaking at a press conference at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, Radebe said that infrastructure maintenance had been a major challenge.

He committed the national government to assist the provincial and local spheres of government in dealing with the crisis which will affect around four million residents of Cape Town.  

Answering about the priorities of government, Radebe said: “What is the main challenge? I think the statement from our governing party the ANC that was delivered by the ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa indicates the line, what we are going to be seeing in the next 20 months. The issue of jobs is top of the agenda, not only of the party but also it is a priority of the South African government.

“The issue of small and medium enterprises and infrastructure,” Radebe added. 

“Especially its maintenance, because we have spent a lot of money as the South African government in the past few years, but on the maintenance, there are major challenges which explains why we are having some of the challenges of water in the Western Cape.”

Radebe added: “As the central government we are totally committed to working with the Western Cape government and the city of Cape Town to ensure that we do everything in our power to deal with the water crisis there.”

– African News Agency (ANA)