Eastern Cape drought declared a national disaster

The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) announced in Government Gazette No. 44876 on Tuesday that it had declared the ongoing drought in the Eastern, Western and Northern Capes a national disaster in line with the Disaster Management Act 2002.

RUNNING DRY: Wriggleswade is one of the dams in BCM that has hit the worst by the ongoing drought
Picture: ALAN EASON

According to NDMC head Dr Mmaphaku Tau, the national executive must now take responsibility to manage the drought.

“I hereby, in terms of section 15(2)(aA) of the Act, read with section 23(8), call upon the organs of state to further strengthen support to existing structures to implement contingency arrangements and ensure that measures are put in place to enable the national executive to effectively deal with the effects of this disaster,” Tau said.

“Also emanating from this classification, and the assistance provided by organs of state in terms of section 23(8) and sections 15(2)(aA) of the Act, organs of state are required to prepare and submit reports, as required by the National Disaster Management Centre and in the case of a declaration, report to the respective intergovernmental forums as outlined in section 24(4)-(8).”

Responding to the announcement, DA shadow MEC for rural development and agrarian reform Retief Odendaal urged Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane to secure national funding for municipalities affected by the drought.

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

“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,” Odendaal said.

“Having recently toured the areas worst affected by the drought in our province, it is clear that the veld has deteriorated to such an extent that it has become impossible to continue with farming operations in certain areas.”

Odendaal said that farmers throughout the province were experiencing severe water shortages, with boreholes and fountains also starting to run dry.

“In many instances, farmers have depleted all of their life savings, cashed in retirement annuities or bonded their farms in a bid to have access to much-needed funding to keep their farms a going concern.

“Unfortunately, many farmers are facing financial ruin and will undoubtedly be unable to continue with their farming operations,” said Odendaal.

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