Government declares national disaster over drought in several provinces

20 July 2021 - 18:28 By TimesLIVE
The Nqweba Dam which supplies Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape is almost empty and, according to the department of water and sanitation, was just 7.1% full as of July 19.
The Nqweba Dam which supplies Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape is almost empty and, according to the department of water and sanitation, was just 7.1% full as of July 19.
Image: Supplied

The government on Tuesday declared the drought in several provinces as a “national disaster”.

In a gazette dated July 20, Dr Mmaphaka Tau, head of the National Disaster Management Centre said the areas affected included the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape and “some pockets within other provinces”.

The declaration means that the “primary responsibility” to deal with the situation fell under the national executive.

“I hereby ... call upon the organs of state to further strengthen support to existing structures to implement contingency arrangements and ensure measures are put in place to enable the national executive to effectively deal with the effects of this disaster,” Tau said.

Responding to the decision, the DA's Eastern Cape shadow MEC for rural development and agrarian reform, Retief Odendaal, called on the provincial premier Oscar Mabuyane to “act with haste” to get national funding to help those in need.

“This is a victory for long-suffering farmers and residents who have joined us in the fight to have the province declared a drought disaster area,” he said.

“There is now no more room for excuses from the premier. It is now imperative that premier Mabuyane and the provincial treasury make representations to the National Treasury to secure much-needed drought-relief funding for our farmers and municipalities.”

TimesLIVE


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