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Govt to decide on declaring drought in WC, EC & NC a national disaster

Cooperative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen has slammed the Western Cape provincial government for the slow expenditure of drought relief funding.

FILE: The Theewaterskloof Dam near Cape Town. Photo: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Government will decide on Tuesday whether to declare the drought in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape, a national disaster.

Cooperative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen has slammed the Western Cape provincial government for the slow expenditure of drought relief funding.

He has told MPs on Tuesday that the government is considering taking over the drought interventions at a national level.

Van Rooyen says that slow expenditure by the Western Cape provincial government on drought relief is making it difficult to lobby Treasury for more emergency funding to mitigate the drought.

According to figures he has presented to Parliament’s portfolio committee on Tuesday, only 24% of the R74.8 million allocated last year has been spent in the last six months.

“This expenditure trend undermines the purpose of the intervention and now it’s even compounding the matter because we’re currently lobbying for more resources.”

An Inter-Ministerial Task Team will be meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether to declare the drought in three provinces a national disaster.

Van Rooyen says this will improve coordination of drought interventions.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)