City of CT to allocate R165m to drought management

The province is currently in the grips of its worst drought in more than a decade.

FILE: Finance MEC Ivan Meyer (Centre). Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Government will allocate R165 million towards the ongoing drought.

The MEC for Finance in the Western Cape, Ivan Meyer, on Thursday tabled his medium-term Budget Policy Statement for 2017.

The province is currently in the grips of its worst drought in more than a decade.

A very optimistic MEC Ivan Meyer and members of the provincial Finance Department on Thursday announced their plans for the next two years.

Provincial goals include job creation, education and opportunities for youth development, health and improving the living environment of its citizens.

“When you have a drought across the Western Cape, one thing you need to get right is proper communication and a single command centre to communicate the right message to avoid panic.”

He adds that the provincial government will bolster its efforts to work with local communities.

Meanwhile, Capetonians can now stay up to date with the water situation.

Mayor Patricia de Lille has launched a weekly "water dashboard".

The online update on the City of Cape Town's website and social media pages will show progress on plans to supplement water supply and will track dam levels and water consumption.

Mayoral spokesperson Zara Nicholson said: “The city is on track with its first set of augmentation plan. The first seven projects, which are the Monwabisi, Strandfontein, the V&A Waterfront and Cape Town Harbour desalination plants; the Atlantis and Cape Flats Aquifer projects; and the Zandvliet water recycling project that will collectively produce an additional 196 million litres per day between February and July 2018.”

At the same time, the African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape has rejected the provincial government’s adjustment budget tabled by Meyer.

It says despite the R165 million allocation to assist with drought interventions, it’s too little too late.

They say provincial government and the city are not on the same page about how they should be tackling the drought crisis.

The Western Cape ANC says even though immediate plans are in place to mitigate the effects of the drought, no long-term plan or solutions are in place.

Chief whip Pierre Uys says while the DA government makes grand plans, the results are not felt.

“We do have a plan; we do have a plan. But we don’t see any plan that’s really on the table. We don’t see any plan that’s been implemented. The money that was allocated to the Western Cape was from the national government. We see that they’ve started with boreholes in the certain areas.”

Meyer says the funds will be spent on a single command centre and other water saving initiatives.

R40 million has been allocated from the national treasury to assist with drought interventions.