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Drought, water shortages stalks ANC in National Assembly

Opposition parties slammed the ANC for its failure to declare the drought a national disaster.

FILE: A scene from the drought-stricken Free State. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The crippling drought and water shortages stalked the African National Congress (ANC) side by side in the National Assembly yesterday.

Opposition parties climbed into the governing party over the number of communities lacking water and its failure to declare the drought a national disaster during a debate in the house.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says 55 towns and communities have no water, claiming mismanagement and maladministration is to blame for a situation that is compounding the effects of the drought.

WATCH: SA economy suffers as drought continues

DA Member of Parliament (MP) Kevin Mileham said, "Of particular concern is the failure of this government and many municipalities to properly administer the water resources under their control and to maintain the water infrastructure."

His colleague Annette Steyn, said the impact of the drought on livestock had been "catastrophic" and will linger for years to come.

"If this issue is not dealt with, it will result in severe consequences for the availability and prices of food for all South Africans and particularly poor household."

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Nazier Paulsen said the drought should be declared a national disaster and called on government to do more to support farmers.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said 94 affected municipalities have been supported by the government's interventions.

She said emergency and short-term mitigation measures included refurbishing boreholes, repairing critical infrastructure and providing water tankers to affected areas.

Mokonyane added the country will only be able to mitigate the impact of the drought through collective effort.