Ricochet News

Over R400 million made available for immediate drought disaster relief

Mar 23, 2018
Over R400 million made available for immediate drought disaster relief

Government has made R433.524 million available from the disaster grants for immediate drought disaster relief funding for the three-most affected provinces.

The funds have been allocated to the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape provinces over the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.

Of the R433.524 million, R348.846 million is to be transferred in the 2017/18 financial year, with the R84.678 million transferred in the 2018/19 financial year.

Making the announcement on Thursday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize said the approval and transfer of these funds is based on the conditions for the Municipal Provincial Disaster Grants, as stipulated in the applicable Grant Framework.

The funds were transferred to the recipients on 19 March 2018, except for the remaining funds for the agriculture sector in Northern Cape which will be transferred in two separate instalments during the 2018/19 financial year, based on the conditions on the ground, as well as progress on the implementation of relief measures within affected communities.

Minister Mkhize urged the grant recipients, which are provinces including relevant departments and municipalities, to implement the drought relief projects swiftly without any delays.

The focus should be on the quality of the work done, value for money and accountability on the utilisation of public funds, through the guidance of relevant provincial treasuries.

The department will coordinate the provision of support, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of implementation of relief measures by the provinces and municipalities.

“This will be done through the relevant technical teams/work streams constituted by relevant national government departments and organs of state, as well as the Provincial Disaster Management Centres with relevant provincial or regional government departments and existing structures.

“The Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) [on Drought and Water Scarcity] will continue to monitor the drought conditions throughout the country as well as regularly provide leadership and oversight to the organs of state for appropriate decision making, including the regular review of decisions based on the drought and water shortage conditions within the country,” Minister Mkhize said.

Since the IMTT on Drought and Water Scarcity announced the declaration of drought as a national disaster on 13 March 2018, the severity of the drought is still evident in all the Cape provinces - Western, Eastern and Northern.

Other provinces are also affected with pockets of drought in varying scales.

The reclassification of the drought as a national disaster by the Head of the National Disaster Management Centre, under Government Notice 107/2017 published in Government Gazette 41439 on 13 February 2018, 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.

SAWS continues to monitor weather

Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service will continue to monitor weather forecasts in order for the country to make informed decisions, particularly regarding disaster risk reduction.

“We caution all people in South Africa, whether citizens or visitors, even though some parts of the country are receiving rains and others even experiencing flash flooding, it is important to note that we are not out of the woods yet with regard to drought conditions.

“South Africa may be experiencing drought conditions in some parts but it remains one of the most exciting tourist destinations in the world. We call on tourists to continue visiting South Africa and experience all that our beautiful country has to offer,” Minister Mkhize said.

He said communities should protect water resources and infrastructure as well as report criminal acts to the relevant authorities.  – SAnews.gov.za