Africa Talk

Minister Sisulu instructs Acting DG to prioritise drought

A two-day drought meeting held by the Department of Water and Sanitation top officials was convened to source funds for mitigating drought in areas declared drought disaster zones.

After comprehensive stakeholder engagement with national and provincial government leaders, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu issued an instruction to Acting Director-General of the department Mbulelo Tshangana to release funds in order to alleviate distress in areas faced with acute challenges.

In December 2019, the Minister acknowledged the prevailing drought conditions wreaking havoc in especially rural and agricultural communities. The Minister proposed interim measures her department were taking in mitigating the running chaos.

Hydrological monitoring seemed to be a favoured response by the department. The Minister believed this “will improve the resilience and sustainability of available sources in the face of increasing climate variability and change.”

It was unimaginable how such a strategy will work especially in dry conditions such as Northern Cape and Limpopo. South Africa’s soil fertility has been on the decline due to insufficient rains. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention crop farmer largely depend on water rainfall than irrigated water as the former was less likely to result in contamination of food products than the later.

“Short-term interventions in hot spot areas have been implemented in the form of drilling of boreholes and providing water by means of water tanks” said the department.  

Despite the current rainfalls, some parts of the country such as Butterworth in the Eastern Cape and some areas in Northern Cape are still experiencing water challenges which have adversely impacted on the supply of water to communities.

The Eastern Cape damns have been low for a while whereas in Limpopo five dams were in a critical state. The Minister’s directive for release of funds by the Acting DG was crucial but was also short on details.

Engagements in drought were only limited to agricultural bodies than farmers. Some of the farmers in these identified were in the dark about government intervention.

The department did not disclose the exact amount to be made for drought relief. Staff Reporter

Minister Sisulu instructs Acting DG to prioritise drought
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