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National govt wants WC govt to explain slow spending on drought relief

In 2017, R74.8 million was allocated to the province to mitigate the effects of the drought.

FILE: The Theewaterskloof Dam. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The national government is demanding answers from the Western Cape government on the slow rate of expenditure on the drought crisis.

In 2017, R74.8 million was allocated to the province to mitigate the effects of the drought.

Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen has told Parliament that he’s written to the province to explain itself.

But the provincial government says that he’s got the figures wrong.

As the government considers declaring the drought in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape a national disaster, Van Rooyen says that the slow spending pace of drought relief money, is making it harder to request more.

“It makes our works difficult at the national level, especially if we have to convince everyone that we’re releasing resources to the same province.”

But the provincial government says his figures are wrong.

It says it has in fact spent 44% of its R74 million allocation and not 24% as Van Rooyen has told Parliament.

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell says most of the work has already been done and that it’s waiting to pay contractors or waiting to receive their invoices.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)