‘No double dipping’

2018-03-14 13:45
Drought-stricken provinces will have to make their case for assistance.

Drought-stricken provinces will have to make their case for assistance. (Ian Carbutt)

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Specials funding to be allocated to drought-stricken areas will bolster relief measures in KwaZulu-Natal.

That’s according to the provincial Department of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) after the drought situation in the country was declared a national disaster by Cogta Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Mkhize on Tuesday said a process to allocate special funding for drought-stricken areas of the country will be introduced alongside the portion of the overall R6 billion for this year’s budget allocated for all disaster relief.

KZN Cogta said this would allow it to continue efforts to alleviate drought conditions in the province.

Mkhize told Parliament: “This declaration is about immediate relief, so there is a distinction between day-to-day operations.”

A short-term relief grant for provinces was also announced during the budget, amounting to R501 million, which can also be accessed.

The various provinces affected by the drought crisis — including the Western, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape — will need to make their case for financial assistance based on their needs.

Mkhize said the process was stringent, as they needed to ensure there was no “double dipping”.

The funds released would then be allocated through a joint process with provinces through Cogta.

KZN Cogta said in a statement it would “continue to mobilise resources, both technical and financial, to alleviate drought conditions in the province.

“The department will also continue to appeal to municipalities, in conjunction with the private sector, NGOs and communities, to implement water conservation measures.

“We are also thinking long-term and implementing far-reaching solutions, such as water-harvesting and desalination, that will augment KZN’s future drought resilience in the face of climate change.

“Drought is here to stay and we as consumers of water services have to find ways to adjust.”

Meanwhile, Umgeni Water’s joint operations committee will hold a meeting later this month to assess whether it needed to lift the 15% water restriction currently on the Mgeni system, which services Pietermaritzburg.

“The situation has improved in the system. It services Msunduzi, uMgungundlovu and most of eThekwini … so it’s a vital system,” the water body’s Shami Harichunder said.

He said: “We wanted to get the entire dam system to 70% by May, currently we’re at about 68% so the situation is good.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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