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In recent days it has been reported that the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) is calling community members to sign an online petition urging the Western Cape Government Health to expedite the release of Muslim post mortem cases within a 24-hour period. While the Department is committed to support the Muslim faith’s “hasten to bury” practice, it is not currently able to effect the release of decedents within 24 hours. Understandably this may lead to misunderstanding and frustration in the community and the Department wishes to clarify some essential facts in this matter.

In the case of an unnatural death, the law demands a medico-legal investigation of death which include a post-mortem examination. Thus the practice of any prioritisation must be balanced with the prioritisation for legal and clinical priorities, such as the gathering of evidence for medico-legal cases (e.g. rape cases). The essential mandate of Forensic Pathology Service (FPS) is to conduct medico-legal investigation into unnatural deaths, in support of the justice system. The quality of this investigation forms the basis of the medico-legal investigation and needs to be intact and stand up to scrutiny. The right to justice and a proper investigation are rights afforded to all citizens, and prioritisation needs to be weighed with this in mind.

Many people may not be aware that the only cases affected are only those pertaining to unnatural deaths as per definition and this includes procedure related deaths. This “delay” does not affect any person who dies a natural death as these cases are not admitted to the FPS, in which case burial may proceed as required. Continue reading

Pic: Theewaterskloof Dam/Jon Kerrin Photography

Theewaterskloof Dam/Jon Kerrin Photography


In summary:

  • Day Zero is now likely
  • 60% of Capetonians won’t save water and we must now force them
  • Punitive tariff to force high users to reduce demand
  • 50 litres per person per day for the next 150 days
  • Drought Charge likely to be scrapped by Council

We have reached a point of no return. Despite our urging for months, 60% of Capetonians are callously using more than 87 litres per day. It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero. At this point we must assume that they will not change their behaviour and that the chance of reaching Day Zero on 21 April 2018 is now very likely.

The people who are still wasting water seem to believe that Day Zero just can’t happen or that the City’s seven augmentation projects – set to produce around 200 million litres per day – will be enough to save us. This is not the case and, while our water augmentation programme will make Cape Town more water resilient in the future, it was never going to be enough to stop Day Zero.

The crisis has reached a new severity, necessitating a series of new emergency measures:

A punitive tariff Continue reading

The City of Cape Town reminds all water users that Level 6 water restrictions apply from 1 January 2018. While the City acknowledges that there are many super water savers in Cape Town, some 200 000 households are using more than 10 500 litres per month (more than 350 litres per day) which is simply far too high. The enhanced water restrictions also encourage a more sustainable use of borehole water as a precious resource. Read more below:

The implementation of the latest water restrictions for the Western Cape water supply system follows the directive by the National Department of Water and Sanitation requiring urban users to reduce their water usage by 45%, and agricultural users to reduce consumption by 60%.

If water usage is kept at 87 litres per person per day for essential indoor usage only then there should be no reason for any spike in consumption, whether it is hot or cold.

‘The daily water usage limit will remain at 87 litres per person per day, wherever you are, unless targets continue to be missed as is currently the case. We would then consider lowering usage targets further in an effort to adhere to these new restrictions and also to avoid Day Zero when most of our taps will run dry,’ said the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille.

From 1 January 2018 excessive usage for domestic properties is classified as being in excess of 10 500 litres per month. Properties where households consume more than 10 500 litres per month could be fitted with a water management device.

Continue reading

High water usage by residents of Cape Town over this past week has brought Day Zero closer by in excess of three weeks to 29 April 2018.

Total storage has fallen by 1,1%. As of this week, dam levels stand at 33%. The City’s overall water usage rose to 641 million litres per day. As at today, only 34% of our residents are saving water. Agricultural users also consumed water at a similar rate to the city.

The dashboard can be viewed here:

‘If water consumption continues to rise, together with the very hot windy conditions which increase evaporation losses, we can expect Day Zero to happen as soon as 18 March 2018. This is a terrifying prospect. Residential customers remain the largest portion of water users. If we can bring consumption down to 500 million litres per day, we will be able to avoid Day Zero,’ said the City’s Director of Water and Sanitation, Peter Flower.

Day Zero is the day that almost all of the taps in the city will be turned off and people will have to queue for water at approximately 200 sites across the peninsula. Continue reading


This Friday, everybody heading to Cape Town International Airport is encouraged to replace 5kg of their baggage allowance for 5l of water.

The flight route between Johannesburg and Cape Town is one of the busiest in the world, with over 4.4 million passengers flying it every year. Many passengers don’t use their full baggage allowance (ranging from 23 to 32 kilograms, depending on the airline).

Business travellers often only take carry-on luggage, and even some holidaymakers pack light in order to do shopping down in the Cape.

When arriving in Cape Town, passengers can either collect their guilt-free water from home to use during their stay, or they can opt to leave it at the collection point at Cape Town International Airport. The social experiment is inspired by the current drought heavily affecting Cape Town – one of South Africa’s major tourist destinations.

Keshin Govender, Head of Communications for Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa, says the severity of the crisis inspired them to do something. “Every year, Gautengers go to Cape Town for their holidays. If you consider that the daily per person water allocation is 87 litres, this places tremendous additional strain on the city.”

During the one-day activation at OR Tambo and Cape Town International airports, travellers can participate by having their luggage weighed at the Siemens AirDrop stand, located in the check-in hall opposite the self-service check-in counters (directly next to ACSA Info Desk at OR Tambo). Any travellers whose luggage is five (or more) kilos under the weight limit will be able to ‘exchange’ their unused kilograms for litres of water that will be delivered to Cape Town on their behalf.

“By simply exchanging unused luggage kilos for water, we hope to ‘airlift’ around 5 000 litres of drinking water to the city in a matter of hours. It is this kind of ingenuity that has made us a global leader in intelligent water management,” says Govender.

The AirDrop collection stand on the Cape Town side will be in the arrivals area, opposite Woolworths. Uncollected water will be donated to Gift of the Givers.

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Today I joined City of Cape Town contractors who are conducting an aerial survey of the Cape Flats Aquifer. The survey is part of the City’s ongoing work to ensure that sufficient new water sources are brought on board as quickly as possible to address the drought.

The survey will confirm the prime locations for where the highest volume of water can be abstracted from the aquifers.

These airborne surveys will be conducted using a helicopter, like the one used today, that has a measuring device in the shape of a wagon-wheel attached to the underside of it.

The helicopter will be flying approximately 60 to 70 m above the ground using underslung measuring equipment (electromagnetic loop) flying around 30 – 40 m above ground. The method being used for the survey will not pose any danger to residents.

The land-based survey only requires a few pieces of equipment. No digging is required. We ask residents and farmers not to be surprised when they see these field workers or helicopter operations in their areas. As far we possible, we’ll also try not to conduct the surveys on private land. Continue reading


Today, as part of my commitment to communicate with residents and manage the drought, we are launching a new weekly water dashboard which will tell us how we’re all doing in our efforts to avoid Day Zero.

The dashboard will be released weekly to the media and it will be available on our website and the City’s social media channels.

Last Thursday I updated the media and the public to say that Day Zero is when we reach 13,5% dam storage and a week ago that date was 13 May 2018. At the time, consumption was 582 million litres per day.

While the good water-saving efforts had pushed this date out from March 2018, many residents took this as a sign that there was some reprieve.

Day Zero has now moved forward to 6 May 2018 due to consumption increasing to 602 million litres of water per day this past week. At the same time, no new water has come online as this is only due from February onwards.

This is the impact of our actions, when people use more water and if we stay in this region of 600 million litres of water per day, we are moving Day Zero forward. The point of the 500 million collective use per day target is so that we move Day Zero further away. Continue reading


Dam storage levels are at 36,8%, with useable water at 28,6%. Collective water usage is 582 million litres, therefore 82 million litres above the required level of 500 million litres per day. 

Our dam levels have declined by 1% over the past week. This could be attributed to the high winds and hot weather which contributed to evaporation. We have managed to halve Cape Town’s water usage with the help of 51% of our water users who have put tremendous efforts into saving water. We will only get through this crisis together. To make this partnership work even more effectively, I appeal to all water users, especially the 49% who are not saving water yet, to join us all as we escalate efforts to beat this drought. Your help is vital and we need you to come on board with Team Cape Town.

This summer with the heat and wind, we can expect a steady decline going forward, so continued savings are a must. We need to do more to bring our usage down while at the same time pulling out all of the stops to ensure that we implement various projects for additional water supply to help see us through to winter 2018. Additional supply goes hand in hand with further savings.

We have looked at ways to fund a first phase of water supply projects by relooking at our spend across the City to see which non-water-related projects we can temporarily postpone while protecting funds for basic and emergency services. Internally, we have made some tough decisions and we will continue to do what is in the best interests of the people of Cape Town, no matter how difficult the challenge. We will partly be funding our first seven additional water projects with this saving and reprioritised money which comprises some R2 billion. The first phase projects earmarked for these funds are the desalination plants at Monwabisi, Strandfontein, the V&A Waterfront, and Cape Town Harbour; the Atlantis and Cape Flats Aquifer projects; and the Zandvliet water recycling project make up the first seven emergency water projects of this phase.

An online toolkit has been developed with various resources for all to use to help us to drive this message. Please see our website,, to access material that you may require. This toolkit will be updated regularly.

For information on how to meet the daily water usage requirement, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s and utilise our water calculator:

Residents can contact the City via email to for queries about the water pressure reduction, or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts), or they can send an SMS to 31373.

Drought crisis: we can beat this drought together

 Dam storage levels have declined by 0,7% over the past week to 37,8% (27,8% useable water). Collective usage is at 602 million litres per day. This is 102 million litres above what is required for us to get through this drought together while we roll out our additional water supply projects. 

A year ago we set out to drastically reduce our water usage. Since then, Capetonians have managed to reduce consumption from 1,1 billion litres a day before restrictions to the current levels. This reduction in water usage couldn’t have been achieved without the concerted efforts of many residents and of our water ambassadors.

Although as a city we have halved our water usage, the extreme nature of this ‘once-in-a-millennium’ drought means that we need to do more. At the moment, only 50% of Capetonians are actively trying to save water and we need everyone on board if we are going to beat the drought.

With this as our goal, the City’s staff – from engineers to front-line leak response teams and water call centre operators – are working day and night to ensure that we beat the drought together. All water-related projects within the City have been fast-tracked and we are engaging with experts both locally and internationally in order to bring the necessary projects online as soon as possible. Continue reading

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