Monday 19 February 2018


The Department of Water and Sanitation, Operation SA and Miss Earth SA have launched a School Roadshow to promote the saving of water.

100 schools are to be visited over the next 10 days.

Children are being given educational worksheets.

Miss Earth Ambassadors are engaging in in-class room activities inspiring #WaterHeroes

Leaners are also being encouraged to come up with innovate ideas.

Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said: “It is encouraging to see the kind of reception to the partnership on water awareness amongst our children and educators.”

“We believe that through this interaction the message of water conservation will reach our communities,” said Ratau.

Catherine Constantinides, International Climate Activist, said “we are inspired by the enthusiasm and engagement of leaners from the youngest to the oldest.

“These children are not only learning to #SaveWater now. They are learning about a new way of life where we are water conscious,” she added.

Chief #SaveWater Ambassador, Yusuf Abramjee, said it was important for the #SaveWater #EveryDropCount message to reach every corner of the country.

“We are starting to see some water savings and that is encouraging. If we save more water now, we can avoid ‘Day Zero.’”

Abramjee said they were being inundated with requests to visit more schools
and it will be considered as part of phase two.

The school roadshow launched at Hazeldene Primary in Mitchells Plain where senior officials of the Western Cape Education Department also attended.

The local Community Police Forum, Mitchells Plain Station Commander, Brig Goolam and community activists also pledged their support.

Other schools to be visited this week include Gugulethu, Langa, Athole, Phillipi, Constantia and Melkbos.


Yusuf Abramjee
Cell 082 4414 203

Sputnik Ratau
‭Cell 082 874 2942‬

Catherine Constantinides
Cell ‭083 747 7677

The outcomes of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team meeting on Drought and Water Scarcity held on 30 January 2018


09 FEBRUARY 2018

The outcomes of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team meeting on Drought and Water Scarcity held on 30 January 2018

Deputy Minister
Directors General
Government officials
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentleman

Good Morning

Our country still remains gripped by the drought situation with all the Cape Provinces (Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape) currently declared disaster areas and some parts of the KwaZulu Natal and Free State. These drought conditions are evidently having profound negative implications on the economies of the affected provinces.

Recent reports indicate that the tourism sector in these areas is feeling the shock particularly in the Western Cape. These points to the multi-dimensional negative impacts of the prevailing drought and the negative effects it has on our developmental aspirations. Government can therefore not sit idle while the situation deteriorates.

To this effect, the Inter Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) on drought and water scarcity (as established in 2015) has been actively championing integrated efforts to ensure that the country responds effectively to the drought situation. This IMTT reports and provides updates to the relevant Portfolio Committees regularly.

The IMTT has been seized with the task of engaging various stakeholders on issues of drought. Our meeting of the 30th January 2018 followed a number of such meetings and consultations. These meetings are primarily geared to devise measures that can ensure heightened national coordination in response to the drought across the country, with special emphasis on the City of Cape Town.

Since January 2018, the IMTT has already met twice on 30 January and 06 February 2018 to receive reports on the status of the drought situation, consider integrated measures being put in place to mitigate the situation and provide political leadership on heightened measures necessary to arrest the situation.

In both meetings, we were joined by some of the MECs of CoGTA from the Provinces who shed light about the situation in their respective provinces and the work each one is doing to mitigate the impact of drought on communities and farmers.

These measures are a testimony that government values human lives and places the interests and welfare of the people above all else. As we know, water is a constitutional right of all South Africans and thus these challenges of drought are threatening to make it difficult for government to realise this important provision in our Constitution.

Even as we are seized with the challenges of drought, it is important to note that there are three categories of our people that must be served equitably as part of the transformation agenda, notably:

a) Those that are yet to receive water
b) Those that have just received water – albeit minimal
c) Those that have access to water

Above all that has been said, the drought situation cannot be examined in isolation from the primary development challenges facing the country. In particular, it is critical to analyze the daily development challenges which either increase vulnerability to drought or increase its severity and which are the factors we as the collective leadership must work tirelessly in a concerted manner to address. These factors border on institutional and resource conditions of our municipalities as well as the challenges around inter-governmental relations in the context of planning and delivery of services.

The cases of all the affected areas are clearly an indication of the need for a national coordinated approach and response to this unfolding challenge. This will have to take into account the national drought forecast and indicators which point to the fact that summer rainfall areas have also not sufficiently recovered from the drought situation which started in 2014.

Additionally, the forecasting systems indicate that the affected Provinces may still experience drier than normal conditions. The Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) for the 24 month period indicates areas of mild to extreme drought categories across SA as a result of 4 consecutive seasons of low rainfall. SAWS indicate that 2017 was the worst year in terms of rainfall as almost the whole country has received below normal rainfall. This denotes that the country as a whole has not recovered from the 2014 drought, with the Western Cape Province experiencing the worst drought in years.

This challenge of drought shows a decline in various human activities such as farming, irrigation or domestic uses of water are affected and this might have a negative impact and exacerbate:

a) Poverty
b) Inequality
c) Unemployment

Notable also is that even though the month of January 2018 received reasonable amounts of rains, this did not cover the whole country as it was limited to the central and eastern parts.

The reports that the IMTT has received thus far pointed indicate that the situation is deteriorating with dam levels falling week on week and the current national dam levels depict the following picture as on 07 February 2018:

Province Dam Levels as at 07th Dam Levels last week
Eastern Cape 60,7% 59,9%
Gauteng 94,6% 95,0%
Free State 64,9% 64,4%
Mpumalanga 76,9% 76,8%
KwaZulu-Natal 52,6% 50,8%
North West 67,4% 66,6%
Northern Cape 76,2% 80,5%
Limpopo 65,3% 64,4%
Western Cape 23,7% 24,5%
National 59,6% 58,8%

Fellow South Africans, while we acknowledge that the drought has become a huge challenge, a number of measures have been implemented nationally and are bearing fruits.

Those measures include:

a) Issuing of early warning messages on a regular basis;
b) Drilling and equipping of boreholes across all provinces;
c) The application of water restrictions to regulate use of water;
d) The provision of animal feed and fodder;
e) Water tankering in areas of severe need;
f) The promotion of the use of drought resistant cultivars;
g) Reduction of water usage by industries and other users such as crop farmers;
h) Change of timing of cultivation and irrigation, etc.
i) Desalination
j) Water conservation and demand management
k) Re-use optimisation

In addition, an amount of R74.8 million was given to the Western Cape Province in August 2017 to deal with the situation. The only challenge is the slow pace of using the allocated funding that are geared to alleviate the impact of drought on particular sectors.
At this stage, CoGTA through the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) is currently in the process of considering requests from the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape provinces for funding of response and recovery measures.

Currently, efforts are underway to classify the drought as a national disaster. This process will be finalized on or before 14 February 2018. This will legally assign the responsibility to the national executive to coordinate the disaster, while a declaration is being considered to be finalized within a period of a month. The declaration will empower the Minister or his Delegate to issue Regulations and / or Directives in dealing with the drought disaster. We are convinced that this will enhance current measures to deal with the disaster. It will also ensure that provinces, which are not currently declared, can be covered through measures to prevent and mitigate against the drought situation.

In 2015, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the National Treasury’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer on Framework Contract. The objective of the MOA is for MISA to rollout of infrastructure procurement and delivery standards and framework contracts for Infrastructure Goods and Services in Local Government. MISA has prioritised framework contracts for water infrastructure goods and services in the light of the current drought. This will contribute towards addressing challenges within the Supply Chain Management in municipalities, accelerate services delivery and alleviate disputes arising from tender processes derailing the acquisition of infrastructure assets critical for effective delivery of services. Municipalities will also save time by avoiding the restart of procurement process each time they need to purchase infrastructure goods and services.

Going forward, the IMTT will regularly consider reports received from the National Joint Disaster Coordination Committee on measures being put in place to improve coordination and deployment of resources for response and recovery from the drought disaster and regularly report to the Portfolio Committees as was the case yesterday, 07 February 2018.

The DWS will continue to monitor the levels of the 214 major dams, as this information is critical in understanding the situation around availability of water in the systems.

The IMTT will continue to communicate through various platforms and channels to inform communities about the effects of climate change, drought and provide water saving/conservation tips. These communication messages on drought are disseminated with the intention of educating and creating the necessary awareness amongst citizens. The role played by media in promoting our integrated public awareness, education and advocacy programmes is commendable and will definitely go a long way assisting to effect the necessary change.

In conclusion, it should be put on record that, since the outbreak of this drought, the leadership of the country, the broader citizenry and civil society formations have pulled together to save this important resource.

To this effect, we are making progress as water usage shows a marked reduction and this is definitely commendable and shows that if we work together, nothing is impossible.

In the same context, government appeals to all South Africans and our visitors to help in save water. We request all of us here today to also play our part to save water and also urge our constituencies and communities to do likewise.

As South Africans, we are stronger when we are tested and together we can prevail over this challenge.

Working together, we can save water.

I thank you.

We reiterate that the option of transporting bottled water to Cape Town is not viable



THURSDAY 1st February 2018

Members of Operation SA have been inundated with enquiries from NGO’s, schools, corporates and members of the public, requesting more information on the collection and distribution of bottled water.

“We reiterate that the option of transporting bottled water to Cape Town is not viable” said Operation SA’s Yusuf Abramjee.

At a meeting with the Department of Water & Sanitation (DWS) on Tuesday 30th January 2018 in Pretoria, officials urged volunteers not to encourage the collection and transportation of bottled water.

Abramjee said no fund raising initiatives will be undertaken for now. “If the situation changes, we will review and mobilize.”

Experts have also discouraged the collection and transportation of bottled water.

Yaseen Theba from Operation SA, said that during the 2014/2015 drought, bottled water was the only option because of the poor water infrastructure system. Seven  provinces were without water for weeks.

“At that stage we needed to get drinking water urgently to people that were literally dying of thirst, and bottled water was the fastest option.

“The current situation in Cape Town is different… We must use the time and the current water infrastructure to plan more sustainable drives to #SaveWater so that we can be hopeful that we never have to go back to distributing bottled water, unless absolutely necessary” added Theba.

Over the coming days Operation SA and its partners will embark on a number of water saving campaigns in the Western Cape.

“We are inspired by the concern from South Africans and their willingness to show their support that comes from their hearts. This is the true spirit of Ubuntu” said Catherine Constantinides, South African Climate Activist and Executive Director of Miss Earth South Africa. She further went on to say; “I urge citizens to urgently reduce water consumption as the only way to avoid the crisis and move beyond Day Zero. It is ouar individual responsibility and citizenship that will enable us to manage this precious resource so that there is enough, for all. We need to all become more conscious of how we use water in every aspect of our daily lives.”

The Miss Earth South Africa leadership programme has committed to working closely with the DWS, alongside all critical stakeholders to manage an educational drive and schools programme across the Western Cape, that brings together influencers and community leaders.

Ambassadors will work tirelessly over the coming months to reach learners, educators and communities as we move towards a future that ensures all South African’s #SaveWater as a way of life.

For more information contact:

Yusuf Abramjee for Operation SA on 082 441 4203

Constantinides has committed to being a part of the national conversation in driving behaviour change, one community at a time as we reduce, re-use and respect our precious resource of water. 


South African Climate and Environmental Activist, Catherine Constantinides, has been an active voice across the nation in a call to drive engaged citizenship in addressing the crisis the nation faces.

“Now more than ever we can and must stand together, share ideas, educate our communities, be innovative and practical as we drive reducing our water consumption”, says Constantinides.

As an amabassador and former Miss Earth South Africa her focus and passion has been in educating the youth and driving community engagement in ensuring civil society addresses the many environmental and social challenges we are faced with due to climate change, behavioural impacts on the spaces and places we occupy. Much of the work being done over the past few years has been under the umbrella of #WasteStopsWithME.

She has called for citizens to take individual responsibility and accountability for the manner in which we live and use the natural resources around us, especially as a water scarce country.

Constantinides has committed to being a part of the national conversation in driving behaviour change, one community at a time as we reduce, re-use and respect our precious resource of water.

The Miss Earth South Africa leadership programme has committed to  working closely with the Department of Water and Sanitation, alongside all critical stakeholders to manage an educational drive and schools programme across the Western Cape, that brings together influencers and community leaders. Ambassadors will work tirelessly over the coming months to reach learners, educators and communities as we move towards a future that ensures all South African’s #SaveWater as a way of life.

Together, we can reduce water consumption in Cape Town


Together, we can reduce water consumption in Cape Town

30 January 2018

On 12 January 2018, the Department of Water and Sanitation issued additional water restrictions in order to reduce water consumption by all categories of water users in the Breede-Gouritz and Berg-Olifants Water Management Areas, thereby restricting water users largely in the City of Cape. This came at the backdrop of the consistent dwindling of water leves in the City of Cape Town and surrounding areas, coupled with the high use of water.

The Department is working with a number of community based organisations, NGO’s and other stakeholders, including the City of Cape Town, in an effort to improve the distribution of information to various sectors of society. It notes and greatly appreciates the patriotism shown by most South Africans in support of Cape Town.

Climate change is our reality and the Department discourages Team South Africa from stockpiling water, in a bid to transport this, to the Western Cape. Public education programmes are underway, providing practical tips to domestic users on how to re-use water safely and thereby reducing consumption.

Social activist and Operation SA’s Yusuf Abramjee, a community stakeholder to the Department, notes that the focus of our joint efforts should be on saving water, wherever we find ourselves. “Let’s not go on a water collection frenzy and cause panic. We need to work together to ensure that we use less water. Collecting and transporting water from Gauteng and other areas is not a viable option, given contamination concerns as well as the strict guidelines and standards of the SA National Bottled Water Association”, said Abramjee. “No funds will be collected for now and we will re-assess the situation over the next few weeks.”

“Operation SA is working with the Department on finding sustainable solutions and if the need arise, South Africans will be called to show their support in the spirit of Ubuntu”, comments Operation SA’s Yaseen Theba, a co-founder of Operation Hydrate.

The Department reiterates that at this stage, Cape Town and the Western Cape needs the mass participation of the people, in reducing consumption by all water users.

Issued by the Department of Water & Sanitation and Operation SA

For more information contact: Sputnik Ratau for the Department of Water and Sanitation on 082 874 2942/ 012 336 6813; Yusuf Abramjee for Operation SA on 082 441 4203

Update for Operation SA

Update for Operation SA

Submitted by Islamic Relief SA on 24 January 2017

“Emergency assistance for Aleppo families”

The Islamic Relief team inside Syria has responded with humanitarian support to the hundreds of families that have fled Aleppo since mid-December 2016, and has assisted their re-settlement in makeshift camps on the outskirts of Aleppo City and Idlib.

This relief operation titled “Emergency Response to new displacement from Eastern Aleppo City” is aimed at providing immediate life-saving assistance and support to displaced the population, , alleviate their suffering, and ensure their health, dignity, safety and well-being.

The programme, jointly funded by Islamic Relief Worldwide partners; including Sweden, South Africa, Switzerland & Australia, aims to assist 200 Families (1000 individuals) through distribution of Shelter and NFI kits and 6000 families (30,000 individuals) with WASH activities, mainly hygiene kit distribution, water trucking and solid waste deportation over a 6 month period.

The OperationSA funding of one million ZAR has been directed towards expanding these current operations. Islamic Relief South Africa matched the donation by OperationSA Rand for Rand and subsequently transferred an amount of 2 million ZAR to IR Syria Mission via IR Worldwide on 09 Jan 2017.

A comprehensive report will be provided on completion of the operation.

For interim updates, kindly contact Abdullah Vawda on Abdullah.Vawda@islamic-relief.org.za or telephonically on
+27 11 8361054

Watch LIVE BROADCAST from Abramjee on #Periscope

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Response to #SAveSyria is ‘overwhelming’

#OperationSA launched the drive earlier this week in response to calls to help with humanitarian efforts in Aleppo and other parts of war-torn Syria.

“The response from South Africans has been overwhelming. We are continuing to get pledges online and via SMS,” said #OperationSA founder Yusuf Abramjee.

Almost R14-million has been pledged for #SAveSyria. A multi-channel four hour pledge line broadcast on Tuesday evening raised R 10 028 953.00

The #SAveSyria #OperationSA campaign was launched following calls to assist victims of the Syrian conflict. Abramjee with fellow social activists Yaseen Theba and Catherine Constantinides are among those behind #OperationSA.

Scores of young children, some donating their spending money, also called in. A Pretoria family, who did not want to be named, even cancelled their planned holiday to donate to #SAveSyria.

The money is to be distributed to seven local charities who are doing humanitarian work in Syria. They are the Al-Imdaad Foundation, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul-Ulama SA, Jamiatul-Ulama KZN, Al-Quds Foundation, Muslim Judicial Council and Islamic Relief SA.

The Al-Quds Foundation is preparing a container with food and clothing and it is scheduled to leave Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“South Africans and foreigners really opened their hearts. The donations will go a long way to ease the pain and suffering of Syrians,” said Abramjee from #OperationSA

“We are witnessing ubuntu in action yet again. The response from the public has been amazing and we will ensure that every rand raised is used for humanitarian relief such as food, blankets, medicines and shelter,” added Abramjee.

He said “it was not only Muslims who were donating. People from all sectors of society are digging deep into their pockets.

“If one person suffers we all feel the pain. It is our duty to help those in need irrespective of religion, nationality or race. We are all human.

“The pledge recall rate is brilliant. We almost have 50% of the money in within such a short space of time. I have not seen such a response in all the years of charity and community work,” Abramjee told the Saturday Star.

Yaseen Theba from #OperationSA said the pledge line was a “major success.”

He said “we were not sure how much money will come in because we are in the middle of the holiday season.

“The phones did not stop ringing. The shocking images from Syria also prompted many callers to donate. The almost R14m raised in such a short period of time shows we are a caring nation,” said Theba who directed the Call Centre Operations.

Online pledges are still coming in and the public can continue donating on the website www.operationsa.org

Donations can also be made via Whats App and SMS: 072 3 99 99 99.

Catherine Constantinides said: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. South Africans never stop to amaze. They dig deep into their pockets and they always make a difference. We have hearts of gold. I am proud of my colleagues at #OperationSA, the many volunteers and sponsors. Well done also to the media for supporting the cause.”

Abramjee said he and Qari Ziyaad Patel from the Al-Imdaad Foundation will lead a delegation to the Turkish-Syrian border early in the new year “to look at conditions on the ground and the relief operations underway.”

The Al-Imdaad Foundation is co-ordinating the visit with #OperationSA and “we want to see exactly how every rand donated by people is going to be used.”

“We will not allow money donated to be used for salaries, agents fees and admin costs,” said Abramjee.

#OperationSA will continue to work locally and internationally by engaging with partners, donors and communities “to develop projects that bring relief, hope and dignity to some of the most vulnerable people.”

Abramjee and Theba were part of the team that founded Operation Hydrate earlier this year. The civil-society group donated millions of liters of water to drought-stricken communities.

Abramjee is also Chief Ambassador the CEO Sleepout SA. This year they donated R9m to three charities involved in education. Over R20m went to Boys and Girls Town last year.

“Our mission in life should be to help others in need and create a better world,” he said.

In partnership with the Al-Imdaad Foundation, Abramjee and the Operation Hydrate team also drilled boreholes in many parts of SA.

Al-Imdaad’s Projects Coordinator Qari Ziyaad Patel said : “Our teams on the ground are ready to facilitate the relief efforts on behalf of #OperationSA and with the experience and transparency we have it will indeed be and eye opener for the group.

“The situation and difficulties faced by the Syrian people is without doubt the worst humanitarian crisis of our time and together this initiative from #OperationSA will make a huge difference.”

Saturday Star