Deputy President David Mabuza has announced urgent intervention measures to address the challenge of drought in the Northern Cape province.
Mabuza visited Aggeneys in Khai Ma Local Municipality in the Namakwa District, Northern Cape, as part of the Land Reform and Integrated Farmer Support Programme.
The visit follows an undertaking the Deputy President made on 25 July 2019 during oral replies in the National Assembly, that government – working together with stakeholders within the agricultural sector – would tackle the challenge posed by drought in the area.
The province is currently experiencing persistent drought in all of its five districts. Below average vegetation conditions are being experienced over most areas.
After meeting with organised agriculture, Mabuza committed the government to provide urgent relief to the Northern Cape farming community, whose livestock is mostly affected by the drought condition.
Government has reprioritised about R30 million for immediate intervention in the procurement and distribution of fodder for the farming community as a short-term measure.
Furthermore, the government has committed to providing assistance in the production of fodder to increase the current capacity of the Fodder Bank established by the province.
With regards to the challenge of water availability, the Deputy President has directed the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to increase the capacity of water provision by drilling more boreholes.
The government will engage with the Land Bank to establish ways to provide relief for defaulting farmers affected by drought. Various government departments will work together to resolve issues around declaration and classification of the drought in the Northern Cape.
During his visit to the Northern Cape, Mabuza had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Khoi San communities, who raised issues around outstanding land claims, progress with regards to the Khoi San Bill and their participation in the structures of the Traditional Leadership Council.
Mabuza committed the government to follow up on all outstanding matters that relate to the provision of integrated support for farmers as well as issues affecting the leadership of the Khoi San communities.
“This collective and rapid response by our government on issues raised in Parliament as a representative body of the people indicates that when we work together in unity and prioritise issues affecting all our people beyond sectarian interests, our country can move forward with the required speed,” said Mabuza.
He was accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza; the Premier of the Northern Cape province, Dr Zamani Saul, Members of the Provincial Executive Council and senior government officials.