Ricochet News

Eastern Cape on the verge of worst drought crisis in the country: DA

By Afikile Lugunya - Jan 30, 2018
Eastern Cape on the verge of worst drought crisis in the country: DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday said that it had met with concerned farmers in the Kouga Local Municipality area, whose farms are increasingly being threatened by the ongoing crippling drought in the Eastern Cape during its oversigght visit to the area.

“The farmers raised concerns regarding the survival of their livestock, the production of crops and the job security of farm workers,” said Leon Basson MP, DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation.

While the Western Cape is in a serious struggle to defeat Day Zero, there are also growing concerns about the availability of water in parts of the Eastern Cape.

Hence, Basson, accompanied by DA Eastern Cape Provincial Spokesperson, Mlindi Nhanha, as well as local councillors, visited the Nooitgedacht Low Level Water Scheme in Port Elizabath on Monday and on Tuesday the Kwanomzamo Wastewater Treatment Plant in Humansdorp and the town of Patensie that is rapidly running dry.

“The Kouga Municipality has worked tirelessly to establish a task team to find ways of alleviating the impact of the drought,” he said.

“In late 2017, drilling for groundwater began, however, this has proven not to be feasible as the geology in the areas of Hankey and Patensie is not conducive to groundwater retention.”

Basson said that the Kouga region was declared a disaster area in May 2017 and the Kouga Dam level is currently at 9.23%.

“It is clear that despite all the efforts from the municipality to find alternative water sources and residents to save water, more help is needed.

“Water and Sanitation Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, as the custodian of water in South Africa, has the legal mandate as per the National Water Act to assist municipalities facing severe droughts and water shortages,” he described.

“It is the responsibility of the national department to source the bulk water supply to municipalities across the country, in order to enable them to deliver this precious resource to residents.”

Basson said that the DA will continue to hold the Minister accountable for her failure to show decisive leadership as millions of South Africans in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Limpopo and Free State face an uncertain future due to the water crises in their provinces.