Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

R6-billion for drought relief

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize says there is R6-billion allocated for disaster relief in the budget, and that more is coming through special disaster funds.

Mkhize, on behalf of the inter-ministerial task team on water, finally announced in Parliament on Tuesday that the water crisis affecting multiple provinces around the country has been declared a national disaster.

A portion of the R6-billion allocated for all disaster relief in 2018/19 will be accessed, but a separate process to approve special funding will also be allocated through a Treasury process.

“This R6-billion is for all forms of disasters, and from which various provinces and municipalities can apply,” Mkhize said.

“This declaration is about immediate relief, so there is a distinction between day-to-day operations.

“Once the allocation has been done and Treasury is satisfied, we will get that [final figure] announced at a later date.”

A short-term relief grant for provinces was also announced during the budget, amounting to R501-million, which will also be accessed.

Provinces must make their case

According to the Disaster Management Act, a state of national disaster lasts for a period of three months. If the situation persists, Mkhize will have to extend the period again through the same process.

The various provinces affected by the drought crisis – including the Western, Northern and Eastern Capes – will need to make their case for financial assistance based on their needs.

READ MORE: Full horror of drought emerges

Mkhize said the process was stringent, as they needed to ensure there was no “double dipping”.

The funds released would then be allocated through a joint process with provinces through Cogta.

The decision should be seen separately from government’s duty to provide long-term bulk water supply to the various provinces and municipalities, Mkhize said.

Those processes were still ongoing, and were still the competency of the national Department of Water and Sanitation.

Funding will relieve agriculture losses

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana, who was also at the briefing, said the department was aware that the sector had suffered job losses as a result of the drought, particularly in the Western Cape.

“Once your production level has dropped, water is one of those issues you need to take into account when most of your production is under irrigation.

“Obviously we won’t be producing at a certain level. Hence, we have allocated funding to reduce the impact.”

As for recent suggestions by some MPs that private dams also be included in Parliament’s pending talks on land expropriation without compensation, Zokwana said the question should be directed to the Department of Water and Sanitation, the custodian of water in the country.

From his point of view, the land question needed to be addressed and the land restored “to its rightful owners”, but had to be done responsibly through Parliament, and should not affect food security.

The same would go for water, if it was brought up in the discussions, he said.

Saying he was encouraged by progress made to save water, Mkhize had one last message for citizens.

“In the spirit of Thuma Mina (Send me), we urge all South Africans to continue pulling together to save water and to manage this scarce resource wisely.

“Society must inculcate this culture of saving, as it is the only way future generations will deal with the declining water resources and growing demand for both human consumption, agricultural and industrial utilisation.” — News 24

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Paul Herman
Paul Herman works from London. London based Songwriter/Producer. Paul has written songs for Artists like Dido, Emeli Sande, Corinne Bailey Rae, Eminem, Izzy Bizu, Raleigh Ritchie... Paul Herman has over 260 followers on Twitter.

Related stories


Subscribers only

Standard Bank mulls over shareholder climate resolution ahead of AGM

Climate considerations are pressing Standard Bank shareholders to push for the recusal of those with fossil fuel ties.

NW Premier Mokgoro ‘meddles’ in contentious R1.5m HOD appointment

Provincial HOD hired despite implication in ‘jobs-for-pals’ probe involving former minister Faith Muthambi

More top stories

Sweeter local sales rescue sugar

The master plan to rescue the industry means that at least 80% of sugar consumption will come from South African farms and millers

Public works tables ‘solutions’ to botched Beitbridge border fence tender

Scopa ‘disappointed’ by slow pace and lack of consequences on Beitbridge irregularities.

ANC resolute over its step-aside decision: Duarte

The governing party has identified 40 members charged with serious crimes who will have to step aside

New Covid-19 variant in South Africa ‘of concern at a...

The Covid-19 B.1.617 variant, first detected in India, is now listed as one of concern, but the World Health Organisation says it does not doubt the efficacy of global vaccines

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…