Gauteng has no budget for drought relief

Gauteng's provincial govt is in talks to try and declare the province a drought disaster area.

OperationHydrate brought Johannesburg to a stand still as 30 trucks carrying around 1,5 million litres of water departed to drought-stricken areas in three provinces.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng provincial government said it did not budget for disasters and as a result had not allocated a budget for the drought.

Yesterday, members of the Provincial Legislature in the economic cluster tabled quarterly reports for various departments.

The committee said not all farmers can be helped due to a lack of adequate resources.

The Agriculture and Rural Development Portfolio Committee said the provincial government is in talks to try and declare Gauteng a drought disaster area.

Chairperson Errol Magerman said interventions to assist farmers in coping are in place and functional, however there was no initial disaster budget.

"The unfortunate thing is that we don't budget as a province for the disaster because it's not something that you can anticipate, hence the importance of having to declare the province as a disaster area, so that monies can be made available."

Magerman said the reason the money wasn't budgeted for is because it takes funds away that needed to be used for service delivery.

The committee said not all farmers can be helped, due to a lack of adequate resources.

The committee said commercial farmers are struggling to cope with the current water restrictions.

Magerman said the department reported 720 smallholdings and 500 commercial farmers have been seriously affected by the dry conditions in the province.

He said commercial farmers need the drought to be declared a disaster to also get help from insurance companies.

"With the process unfolding now between the MEC of Cogta, the MEC of agriculture and the premier, we hope that the province will be declared a disaster area."

He said the committee is also worried about inadequate resources available to farmers in the province.