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Vodacom boosts efforts to address Eastern Cape drought

Oct 23, 2019
Vodacom boosts efforts to address Eastern Cape drought

Bhisho - Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, on Wednesday welcomed a R1 million donation from telecoms giant, Vodacom, which is meant to assist the province's efforts to mitigate the current drought.

"The Eastern Cape Province has been experiencing varying levels of drought with fluctuating amount of rain fall since 2015. The Eastern Cape provincial government departments and municipalities have since then, been providing drought relief material support to the people of the province hard hit by drought," said Mabuyane. 

"The drought experienced by the province has been in the form of extremely reduced amount of rainfall during normally rainy seasons. This drought affects households that had reduced access to water, farmers that also had reduced amount of water to be used for crop irrigation and livestock. 

"This drought demands that a number of government institutions from national, provincial and local government put together resources to mitigate drought in the province." 

Eastern Cape government efforts to address drought

The Premier said that to this end, rain water tanks were provided to households to contain millions of liters of water carted by government to households, millions of bales of Lucerne and other animal feeding material to help caution farmers and livestock owners from the effects of this punishing drought.

"The current drought has been classified as the provincial disaster by the national disaster management center, with government having declared drought as a disaster in the previous financial years.

"The declarations in the previous financial years led to the provision of financial resources that made it possible for the national, provincial and local government to provide emergency drought relief resources to the households and farmers affected by drought," he added. 

"In the current financial year, a number of government departments, especially the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform and the Municipalities affected by drought continue to provide drought relief support to affect   ed communities and farmers. 

"The executive council (cabinet) of the province has resolved to declare drought as a disaster and processes to gazette it are underway. One of the issues that delayed the gazetting was that some municipalities were in the process of declaring disaster."

Mabuyane said that the Sarah Baartman, Chris Hani, Amathole, Alfred Nzo, and Nelson Mandela municipalities have been declared by their councils as disaster areas.

"We are aware that Joe Gqabi District and the OR Tambo District Municipalities have recently declared drought in their municipalities."

Vodacom's R1 million donation to aid drought relief in Eastern Cape

The Premier said that the process of declaration and gazetting will result into availing of financial resources by government to be set aside for drought mitigation programs.

"There will be no new money pumped into this program but government will prioritize from the allocated funds in order to speed up interventions to households and farmers that do not have water as as result of drought.

"I have received an offer from one of our private sector partners, Vodacom offering to invest R1 million to help us drill boreholes in the drought stricken areas of the province. We will use this money to drill water from under ground to help both households and farmers hard hit by drought to access as water," he said.

"We appreciate the intervention by Vodacom and together with them we will make sure that boreholes are drilled cost effectively so that we can spread this money to as many other areas affected by drought. We welcome this investment as a shot-in the-arm to our emergency drought relief program in the province. 

"I want to appeal to other private sector partners that are willing to make similar contributions to make those proposals to the government so that we have a coordinated program responding to drought.

"For us, as government, dealing with his drought is a priority hence we have been continuing to provide water, rain water tanks, animal feed to households and farmers in the province from 2015 when we first experienced drought. 

"We all face the hardship of reduced rain fall due to the climate change we are experiencing as the province and the country."

He said that communities, households and farmers that experience water shortage hardship must contact relevant government departments to help them with emergency relief support.

"Helping the people of the province, households, farmers is at the heart of our intervention as government and we continue working with them to caution them from the drought induced hardship," the Premier said. 

"Because we are dealing with extreme reduced rainfall, the net effect of the current weather conditions is the reduction of dam levels in the province. It is painful that this affects livelihoods and the economy of the province."

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