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NATIONAL DISASTER - READ FULL STATEMENT HERE
13 Mar 2018, South Africa: Government has declared a national state of disaster to deal with the country’s drought and water crisis.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought and Water Scarcity during a media briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Minister Mkhize said government stands ready to provide financial assistance where necessary and subject to legal prescripts.
During the Budget Speech, it was announced that a provisional allocation of R6 billion has been set aside in the 2018/19 financial year for several purposes, including drought relief and to augment public infrastructure investment.
Minister Mkhize said measures are being put in place to ensure that requests for funding are being considered, as received from the provinces.
Drought reclassified as a National Disaster:
The reclassification of the drought as a national disaster was done by the Head of the National Disaster Management Centre, under Government Notice 107/2017, published in Government Gazette 41439 on 13 February 2018.
The reclassification of drought as a national disaster designated the primary responsibility for the coordination and management of the disaster to the national executive, who must act in close cooperation with the other spheres of government to deal with the disaster and its consequences. The declaration covers a period of three months.
Minister Mkhize said that three provinces including Western Cape, some parts of the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape are extremely affected, and are not yet showing comforting signs of improvement.
“At this stage there is no indication to support rainfall that is more than 25 millimetres for the Western and Northern Cape Provinces, except perhaps a low likelihood along the south coastal areas,” Minister Mkhize said.
Measures to address underlying Factors:
Minister Mkhize said government has taken measures to address underlying factors, including amongst others, weak intergovernmental relations arrangements in development planning and implementation, ageing infrastructure, lack of operations and maintenance of infrastructure, and capacity constraints particularly with regard to technical expertise.
Actions to take place to ensure heightened drought interventions across the country include:
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