Drought-stricken Western Cape declared a national disaster area

The inter-ministerial task team on drought and water scarcity has declared the Western Cape a national disaster area.
The drought has had a devastating effect on the Free State, the Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape and parts of KwaZulu-Natal, with the Western Cape worst affected.
Declaring a national disaster lays the basis for financial and humanitarian aid by the government.
The Northern Cape, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape had already declared provincial disasters.
Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane said her meetings with Western Cape Premier Helen Zille regarding the drought and interventions in the Western Cape were productive and fruitful.
There are licences where we had to sit with, four licences were issued in the space of a month.
Another three dam licences were issued before December," she said.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen said national government interventions would include drilling boreholes, water restrictions, providing animal feed, desalination, reuse optimisation and regular water-use warning messages.
The only challenge is the slow pace of using the allocated funding that is geared to alleviate the impact of drought on particular sectors," said Van Rooyen.
The belt-tightening exercises of the government meant the disaster grants had to do more with less in the aftermath of the drought, he said.

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