‘Out of sight, out of mind’ mentality hurts

‘LEST we forget’ is a Biblical phrase that has been incorporated into the English language and used, especially, on days that commemorate heroes who have fallen in battle.

The essence of the adage is that, unless we are continually reminded, not only will we forget, but we may perhaps fall into the same problem situations that caused pain and hurt in the first place.

It can even be that we are rendered incapable of remembering.

Which begs the question regarding two extremely serious issues that are no longer being red-flagged and given the urgent attention they need.

Why is nobody talking about the drought anymore?

Is it because the desalination plant is now working (at 60% of its capacity), or because Lake Mzingazi is overflowing (although failure to do upgrades has led to massive losses of water)?

Does this give the illusion that our drought worries are a thing of the past?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Goedertrouw Dam, the primary source of water for industry, agriculture and domestic use, remains critically low.

This while we get no response from the Department of Water & Sanitation on the delays in upgrading the Tugela Transfer Scheme which augments the small amount of water that trickles into the dam from its catchment area.

According to the original ‘urgent’ planning, the project – which will double the amount of water flowing from the Tugela River to Goedertrouw – should have already been completed.

Instead, although welcome strides have been made, it is far from finished.

In the original planning phase, the media (and especially the Zululand Observer, since the project lies within our distribution area) were touted as important partners in keeping drought-affected communities informed.

Subsequently, we were barred from meetings and requests for information to disseminate to readers go unheeded.

All the while, we watch the unconstrained use of hose pipes, flagrant disregard for prevailing water restrictions and broken pipes unrepaired for hours.

On that score: has anybody been fined, other than financially penalised on their water bill?

The second ‘forgotten’ issue relates to rhino poaching.

It was at one time the stuff of headlines, with the bloody death count warning of the possible extinction of this magnificent beast.

Then figures stopped being revealed, and it was no longer a matter of daily conversation.

In the absence of reminders, we simply forgot about it – until we learned last week of seven rhinos being butchered and dehorned at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

This while cases against poaching suspects drag on in courts and convictions are few and far between.

Lest we forget?

Let’s not forget.

Dave Savides

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