DA launches PAIA request over drought relief

DA shadow MEC for rural development and agrarian reform Retief Odendaal has launched a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request with the department of rural development and agrarian reform (DRDAR) regarding drought relief to the Eastern Cape.

According to Odendaal, there is still much uncertainty over the distribution of drought aid to farming communities in the province.

“Despite numerous requests to DRDAR and to MEC Nomakhosazana Meth for clarity around the drought relief aid, little to no information has been forthcoming,” he said.

“There has reportedly been no communication between the department and applicants for relief to confirm if their applications have been successful, feed is reportedly being distributed to districts within the province that have not been declared a disaster area and feed purchased from suppliers do not meet specifications.”

Odendaal also said that there is no evidence that the department has conducted the necessary audits to determine if claims for relief are legitimate.

“This is why I have now lodged a PAIA application to request information regarding the tender processes and the contracts awarded in respect of the drought aid that has been made available to farmers in the Eastern Cape,” he said.

The province was declared a disaster area in 2019 due to the ongoing drought, which means the national government is responsible for allocating emergency relief funds to the area.

While exact figures were not available, EC premier Oscar Mabuyane has said that at least R600m is needed.

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