EC Premier must declare drought disaster

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL
Shadow MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform

The Democratic Alliance, during a sitting of the Eastern Cape Legislature yesterday, called upon Premier Oscar Mabuyane, to declare the Eastern Cape as a Drought Disaster area.

The entire western half of the province is still grappling with a seven-year drought that is decimating farmers and water-scarce municipalities.

A capable state would be doing everything in its power to put drought mitigation measures in place.

Without water, everything else fails.

The ongoing drought is severely impacting on the farming operations of both commercial and emerging farmers, especially those in the Sarah Baartman, Chris Hani and Amatole Districts.

In addition, the severity of the drought can easily cause a humanitarian crisis in municipalities such as Dr Beyers Naude, Ndlambe, Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Kouga dam, which is one of the biggest storage dams in the province, is currently standing at just 6,4% of total capacity.

This is the lowest recorded level the dam’s ever been at since its construction in the 1960s.

Given the potentially disastrous consequences that the ongoing drought could have for nearly two million people in the Eastern Cape, the Democratic Alliance calls upon the Premier to start the processes needed to declare a Provincial State of Disaster in respect of the drought.

Should the province be declared a drought disaster area, the Eastern Cape may apply for some much-needed drought mitigation funding from the national government.