The Western Cape’s water crisis could be on the verge of claiming its first major jobs.
At least two West Coast canning factories are at risk of shutting their doors if a secure water supply is not guaranteed.
Provincial officials are in talks with big business to try and keep job losses to a minimum.
The Oceana Group is Africa’s largest fishing company, employing thousands of workers and counting among its brands Lucky Star Pilchards.
It has canning facilities up and down the coast, but its West Coast operation is under threat. They need water to keep their canning operation going.
Provincial agriculture MEC Alan Winde says they’re holding talks with Oceana and other players.
“We’ve had a number of meetings with Oceana and that is around water security, so if they don’t have water security they can’t fish. If they can’t fish, their business is gone."
Provincial local government department chief Graham Paulse says as many as 6,000 jobs may be lost if the water supply is not secured very soon.
"There’s a risk that two canning factories in Saldanha Bay will close, given the uncertainty around the water supply. Saldanha Bay Municipality is struggling to augment their water."
If a major operation closes down, it could mean between 4,000 and 6,000 direct and indirect job losses.
Oceana has not replied to requests to comment.