The African National Congress, the country’s governing political party, has been mandated to sever diplomatic relations with Israel. The downgrading of ties to Israel could not have come at a worse time for Cape Town.
The African National Congress, the country’s governing political party, has been mandated to sever diplomatic relations with Israel, according to South African Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor and confirmed by the South African parliament’s official Twitter account. Pandor’s announcement follows a previous ANC resolution to downgrade South Africa’s embassy in Tel Aviv into a “liaison office.”
The downgrading of ties to Israel could not have come at a worse time for Cape Town. The tourism and business capital of South Africa is in the throes of a three-year drought, with water taps throughout the city expected to go dry later this year. This would make Cape Town the first major city in the world to run out of water.
Israel is world-renowned for its expertise in water conservation, providing clean and drinkable water to its people without fail. Despite 60 percent of the country’s landmass consisting of desert, along with being hit with the worst drought the Mediterranean has seen in 900 years, Israel has remarkably been able to supply its multi-billion-dollar agricultural export economy and provide surplus water to the neighboring Kingdom of Jordan and Palestinian Authority.
Yet despite Israel’s repeated offers to send its desalination experts to help, South African officials have ignored or rebuffed Israel’s proposal for ideological reasons. As highlighted by The Wall Street Journal, Israel has trained water technicians in over 100 countries. Nevertheless, South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to help develop South Africa’s water infrastructure.
Iran might very well be the last place anyone should go for advice on water management. A former Iranian agriculture minister predicted that as many as 50 million Iranians would need to be uprooted because of growing water scarcity.