Department of Water Affairs EC emergency interventions highlight seriousness of ongoing drought

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL – DA EC Shadow MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform
22 Sep 2020 in Press Statements

The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) has this afternoon announced that R50 million will be spent on a once-off drought related intervention in Eastern Cape municipalities.

The majority of this funding will be spent on the acquisition of static water tanks, that will be donated to municipalities. The department will, however, also assist with the carting of water to water scarce communities over a two month period.

Whilst the DA welcomes any additional funding and support forthcoming from a national level, we remain concerned that only two municipalities in the Eastern Cape currently have drought disaster declarations in place. Municipalities and hundreds of farmers in the Sarah Baartman, Chris Hani and Amatole Districts are grappling with the daily effects of the severe, ongoing drought. Dam levels in the the province also continue to drop.

The provincial government has unfortunately done very little in assisting local government or struggling farmers with the effects of this prolonged drought in the province.

I will now write to the Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Maybuyane, and appeal that he reinstates to Provincial Drought Disaster as soon as possible. This will enable to province to apply for much needed financial funding from National Government. This funding can be utilised to assist water scarce municipalities with the building of water infrastructure, as well as the provision of food and fodder relief to struggling farmers.

I will also request that the Provincial Government match the R50 million in funding that the DWA will spend in the province over the next two months. My proposal will include a suggestion that the funding from the province be utilised to establish a Drought Emergency Fund for farmers in the Eastern Cape.

Government needs to act now, to create hope that  our province and its people can be saved  from this ongoing drought disaster.