Drought is national disaster and Western Cape is worst off‚ says Van Rooyen

08 February 2018 - 14:27 By Bobby Jordan
Des van Rooyen
Des van Rooyen

The drought ravaging much of the Cape is a national disaster — and will be declared as such within a month‚ Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen announced on Thursday.

Speaking at a media briefing in parliament‚ Van Rooyen confirmed efforts to formalise a national disaster declaration‚ which could result in more drought relief in the form of funding and water procurement projects.

“Currently efforts are under way to classify the drought as a national disaster‚” said Van Rooyen‚ who also heads the inter-ministerial task team on drought and water scarcity.

“This will legally assign the responsibility to the national executive to coordinate the disaster‚ while a declaration is being considered to be finalised within a period of a month.

“We are convinced that this will enhance current measures to deal with the disaster. It will also ensure that provinces‚ which are not currently declared‚ can be covered through measures to prevent and mitigate the drought situation.”

Latest figures released at the briefing showed average national dam levels of 59.7%‚ with the Western Cape in the most perilous position at 23.7%.