Government declares drought a national disaster

Government has officially declared the drought and water crisis plaguing the country a national state of disaster.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought and Water Scarcity during a media briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The reclassification of the drought as a national disaster will allow the national executive, to act in close cooperation with the other spheres of government to deal with the disaster and its consequences.
Minister Mkhize said that three provinces including Western Cape, some parts of the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape are extremely affected, and are not yet showing comforting signs of improvement.
Measures to address underlying factors Minister Mkhize said government has taken measures to address underlying factors, including among others, weak intergovernmental relations arrangements in development planning and implementation, ageing infrastructure, lack of operations and maintenance of infrastructure, and capacity constraints particularly with regard to technical expertise.
Heightening drought interventions Actions to take place to ensure heightened drought interventions across the country include: The National Joint Drought Coordination Committee (NJDCC) will meet monthly and continue coordinating integrated multi-sectoral intervention measures to address the drought situation in the affected provinces.
The country will work hard to enhance the weather forecasting capacity to ensure impact-based early warning services to enhance public knowledge and safety from weather related incidents.
This will be done under the leadership of the South African Weather Services.
The sectors will continue activating their climate change adaptation strategies and plans to support municipalities within the provinces.
Municipalities must act by repairing the leaking pipes.

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