Repeated requests by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) to get the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to address the current drought crisis, have fallen on deaf ears.
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”.
The DA wrote to Minister Dlamini–Zuma on 17 October 2019 and followed up on 27 October to request that she urgently Gazette a national drought disaster plan. Unfortunately, despite the urgency of the situation, both these letters yielded no response from Minister Dlamini –Zuma.
The Eastern Cape has been declared a disaster area due to the drought affecting the area. However, this is not enough because other provinces like North West, Limpopo, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, and the Northern Cape are also ravaged by drought.
While the ANC government was quick to politicise the drought in the Western Cape, our pleas for National Government to intervene in other areas have fallen on deaf ears. What is needed is serious intervention by national governments to Gazette a national drought disaster.
The DA calls on the ANC government to stop playing politics and start doing its job.
Tomorrow the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, will meet in the National Assembly to provide an update on drought and Provinces’ state of readiness for the 2019/20 planting season.
The DA will use the portfolio committee meeting tomorrow as an opportunity to ask the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, whether any intergovernmental measures have been taken by her department together with COGTA, to lessen the damage caused by drought conditions.
This drought is spreading like wildfire across all provinces, our national government has failed to take the steps that are necessary to ensure that we avoid a crisis.
The question that every South African should be asking is whether this government is capable of preventing the impending national disaster that is affecting farmers, horticulture, livestock, agriculture and threatening food security.
South Africa is already in a drought disaster, not only do we have an energy crisis, but we also have a water crisis. It is for this reason that the DA calls on the national government to do the right thing and declare and Gazette a national drought disaster.