The blamers are having a field day with Cape Town’s water crisis, and it is almost understandable that politicians of every stripe will see it as the perfect opportunity to score points. And, without any doubt, there is much in this emergency that should arouse righteous anger. The DA’s administrations in Cape Town and in the province responded too late to warnings that they heard as long ago as 2004. There have been responses, such as the construction of the Berg River Dam, but overall, it has been too little too late. As the crisis deepened, the city widened the scope for possible solutions and sought tenders for, among other projects, the abstraction of groundwater and for desalination. But in each instance, the city authorities failed to escalate the matter to national government. The city followed the law to the letter, perhaps so that it might plausibly deny liability if it failed. It is now understood that the water-demand assessments were based on trends set after a series o...

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