Abra Barbier – SABC
Within the next month, the entire country will be classified as being in a state of disaster due to the continuing drought and water shortages.
The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Des van Rooyen made the announcement at a portfolio committee in Parliament Wednesday.
A raft of stakeholders are before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation – and up for discussion, the interventions in place to deal with the drought crisis in three of the country’s provinces.
The situation also has an impact on the national picture.
Van Rooyen says, “The classification of the drought as a disaster will legally assign the responsibility to the National Executive to coordinate the disaster, while a declaration which we are effecting in due course, will empower the Minister, or his delegate to issue regulation, or directives in dealing with the disaster.”
Van Rooyen says the approach behind the national declaration is a pro-active, pre-emptive plan.
He says it will reduce the risk of the impact of the drought going forward.
Treasury’s contribution was also raised by the National Disaster Management centre.
National Disaster’s management Centre Dr Mmaphaka Tau says, “Western Cape additional funding required by the City of Cape Town – R6.8 billion, Matzikama for water infrastructure, -R2 million, and Drakenstein – R51.4 million. I must say members, this request will be considered to check whether these are disaster related or relate to service delivery backlog, which will have to be directed to the relevant sections for interventions.”
Dr Tau added that for the 2018/2019 financial year, a further 500 million will be allocated as an emergency disaster grant.