Gauteng recently experienced a freak storm, which resulted in traffic delays, routes being closed and cars being dragged away by the water if their owners were idiotic enough to drive on bridges that are flooded.
This is not something new. Every year, especially in Cape Town, we see areas that experience massive flooding, where people are forced out of their living spaces because of the water invasion. Every year we hear of how government will mobilise to assist those who are affected by the rain, especially the poor. Yet every year we see the same thing happen, without fail – it rains, places are flooded and nothing is done about it.
One gets to wonder if there are people in our provincial government (before and up to the current one) who saw the situation and actually thought of a plan that would help in dealing with the situation. Could we not find a way to channel the water in low laying places and direct it to some water collection points (for irrigation and filling the dam) or direct it towards the sea? In poorer areas the people seem to be at the mercy of the weather, but there is no plan in place to ensure that during flooding the water is directed away from homes.
Could we not convert this water so that the amount of water poorer households get free is increased? Could it not be used to ensure that all households pay less for the usage of water than they do currently? And instead of putting restrictions on water usage (such as water the grass or washing one’s car), the flood waters could alleviate the water crisis that seems to the topic of conversation these days. And instead of spending money (every year) on the flood crisis, that money could be directed to service delivery and other more urgent matters.
It is these re-occurring problems that (if we do not fix) will end up eating away at our ability to prosper. Because we can already see that some municipalities do not care to fix damaged bridges during the sunny days, but make themselves out to be beckons of light during disaster situations, where people lose their lives over things that could be avoided.
Fixing the little things will ensure that in terms of delivery, the municipality has built a bridge between government and the people it is suppose to serve.