At the time of writing, the month-long crisis on our university campuses remains unresolved. The next few days will probably be critical in determining whether the universities concerned will reopen in time to allow students to complete the academic year. As hardly needs be stressed, this is a critical issue for our country. For our country to succeed, it is abundantly clear that all South Africans need access to higher education. For our own part, we strongly encourage dialogue between government, the universities and student representatives aimed at achieving an solution that takes into account the requirements and concerns of all stakeholders. Every effort must be made to reduce as much as possible the gaps between the various parties and to find a balance between what people want to see and what is practically achievable, in both the short and long term. These are troubled times, but we I feel there is sufficient resilience and goodwill to find a constructive way forward.
The Western Cape is not the only province gripped by drought and running out of water. The rest of the country faces profound water stress too. The real problem is not a lack of ideas, technology or money, but rather one of outdated paradigms, political short-sightedness and policy uncertainty.
A South African-born Israeli water expert, Dr Clive Lipchin, from the Arava Institute, shared experiences and lessons with water researchers, public water utility experts and ordinary community members. Lipchin spoke on Tuesday, 13 February at a Water Symposium held at The Great Park, in Johannesburg.