CAPE TOWN, The South African government will allocate 74 million Rand (about 5.69 million US dollars) in relief funding to respond to the persistent drought in Western Cape Province, says Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen.

The announcement, made when he led a media briefing of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought at Parliament here Tuesday, came after the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) declared the Western Cape drought situation a provincial disaster after conducting assessments in June and July this year.

Van Rooyen said several engagements were held with federal government departments, including the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to mobilise available resources, as well as the necessary support required by the provinces.

“During July 2017, the NDMC received funding requests from the Western Cape Department of Local Government to be allocated to the Provincial Department of Agriculture and the affected municipalities, notably Bitou, Theewaterskloof and the City of Cape Town,” he added.

“Meetings were held with all the municipalities for the verification of emergency projects requiring funding from the national government. The assessments were also conducted within the agriculture sector.

“The total cost of providing emergency disaster relief to Western Cape Province is 74,866,263 Rand. Of this amount, 40 million Rand will be allocated towards livestock feed to be expended by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in light of the drought situation and the fires experienced recently in the province.”

Of the funds allocated for relief projects within identified municipalities, the City of Cape Town would be allocated 20 million Rand, Bitou Local Municipality 10.9 million Rand, while 3.1 million Rand would be channelled to the Theewaterskloof Municipality.

He said the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought would continue to monitor the drought conditions in the province and offer the required support through relevant sector departments to mitigate the situation.

“As indicated earlier, the rainfall forecast for the Western Cape for winter is still uncertain. It is then recommended that the current drought risk reduction measures be continued as our country is generally drought prone,” said van Rooyen. “The South African Weather Service will therefore continue monitoring and advising on medium and short-range weather forecasts for the development of weather conditions in order to inform actions to inform risk reduction.”


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