S.Africa's drought merely a problem, not crisis


South Africans are looking for answers as many parts of the country are without water due to a severe drought which has grappled the country. Government officials maintain that the drought is not the cause of the water shortages in Johannesburg and this is merely a problem, not a crisis.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Pravin Gordhan, and the Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Parks Tau were among some of the delegates that addressed the status of water supply, citing, in particular, the issue of extraordinary demand being the cause.

“We have to take a closer look at what is caused by drought factors and what is caused by supply factors. The drought and the issues we have in Joburg are not connected at this stage,” says Gordhan.


The Mayor stated two issues as the cause of water shortages in Johannesburg, the first being an electrical problem that impacted a pump station which caused water shortages in the south of Johannesburg. The second, the Mayor noted, were supply constraints, especially in the high lying areas of the city, which make it difficult to pump water into the system.

“One of the important statistics is that it is estimated that 46 per cent of domestic water supply is actually utilised for gardening purposes,” says Tau.

The minister says municipalities have been meeting with numerous stakeholders, seeking a way forward. He encouraged them to meet with small businesses and find means for the adaptation and modernisation of their businesses.

“They should ask those businesses overtime to begin to look at equipment that uses less water but still allows them to do their business,” says Gordhan.

“South Africans need to understand that the weather is out of our control. If it’s going to be 40 degrees for the next two months, that’s a factor we’ll have to cope with together and work with together as a team”.