Cape Town - Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize has declared the prevailing water crisis affecting multiple provinces a national state of disaster.
Mkhize, on behalf of the inter-ministerial task team on water, told the media in Parliament on Tuesday that his decision was gazetted as at 10:00 this morning.
Government previously reclassified the water crisis as a national disaster on February 8.
However, this was different to a declaration. Government can now finally access special funds through Treasury reserved for national disasters.
The process to calculate how much will be released has begun and the figure will be announced at a later date, Mkhize said.
"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.
Mkhize called on all citizens to continue to save water and change behaviour, as South Africa is currently a water scarce country.
There was R6bn allocated for disaster relief in the 2018/19 budget, which was separate to the funds still to be allocated through the special process.
A short-term relief grant for provinces was also announced during the budget, amounting to R501m, which will also be accessed.
BREAKING: Cogta minister Zweli Mkhize, on behalf of govt's task team on the #WaterCrisis, has declared the drought crisis across the country a national disaster. Govt will now look at accessing special disaster funds. @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/0nqrQufr6p— Paul Herman (@PaulHermanCPT) March 13, 2018