- Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize has officially declared the ongoing drought in the Western and parts of the Eastern Cape a national disaster
- Mkhize spoke on behalf of an inter-ministerial task team on water
- The declaration of a national disaster enables the government to access special funds specifically reserved by Treasury for national disasters
The government has upgraded the prevailing water crisis affecting the Western Cape and southern parts of the Eastern Cape to a national disaster.
The announcement was made by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize earlier on Tuesday morning.
Mkhize addressed members of the media from Parliament, he spoke on behalf of an inter-ministerial task team on water. Mkhize said the decision to declare a disaster would be gazetted at 10:00 on Tuesday morning.
"As the minister responsible for disaster management, I have recognised that special circumstances exist, and have decided to declare the drought as a national state of disaster in terms of Section 27 of the Disaster Management Act," he said.
Briefly.co.za discovered that the government previously classified the ongoing drought as a water crisis, the decision to reclassify the drought as a disaster will enable the government to access special funds.
The National Treasury has a special fund which is reserved for national disasters, now that the drought has been classified as such all the relevant departments will be allocated emergency funding.
No details on the exact amount of funds or how those funds would be used has yet been given.
Mkhize urged all South Africans to save water where possible and to follow the example set by Cape Town in reducing water consumption. He said that while certain parts of the country had an excess of water at this time the country remained a water scarce region.
Meanwhile, day-zero in Cape Town has been pushed back indefinitely, the City of Cape Town has hailed the efforts by all residents to reduce water consumption as a major contributing factor.
Opposition parties have asked for an inquest into the Democratic Alliance (DA) led council’s tactics regarding day-zero. Opposition parties questioned whether day-zero was ever something which would take place or a scare tactic on behalf of the council.
On Monday, official dam levels for the Cape Town stood at 23%.
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