The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to request that she urgently Gazette a national drought disaster.
In terms of Section 27 of the Disaster Management Act, the Minister by notice in the Government Gazette, may “declare a national state of disaster if existing legislation and contingency arrangements do not adequately provide for the national executive to deal effectively with the disaster”.
All across the country provinces and local communities have suffered in silence as droughts have ravished through their communities. Vast areas of the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and parts of Limpopo have been crippled by droughts and in many areas the taps have completely run dry, with little to no intervention from National Government.
The provincial governments clearly do not have the capacity nor the funds to provide drought relief to their residents and National Government seems to have turned a blind eye to the suffering of the affected communities.
These droughts have also been compounded by the fact that many of the affected municipalities have neglected the maintenance of critical water infrastructure and water plants. The scourge of corruption and indifference has also ensured that in many towns the taps have run dry.
These droughts will by no means remain localised. Farmers are unable to water their lands and feed their livestock, whilst small business owners are unable to continue with their daily operations. This will have a severe impact on provincial economies and ultimately our stagnant national economy.
Whilst the ANC government was quick to politicise the drought in the Western Cape, pleas for National Government to intervene in other areas have fallen on deaf ears.
The droughts across the country have reached crisis levels and are quietly becoming one of the biggest challenges facing our country.
South Africa doesn’t only have an energy crisis, we also have a water crisis. It is for this reason that the DA implores Minister Dlamini-Zuma to do the right thing and declare and Gazette a national drought disaster.