South Africa: Eastern Cape On the Verge of Worst Drought Crisis in the Country

press release

The statement below follows an oversight visit to the Kouga Municipality by the DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation, Leon Basson MP. Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Mr Basson.

Following an oversight visit to the Kouga Municipality region today, the DA met concerned farmers in the area whose farms are increasingly being threatened by the ongoing crippling drought in the Eastern Cape.

The farmers raised concerns regarding the survival of their livestock, the production of crops and the job security of farm workers.

The Kouga Municipality has worked tirelessly to establish a task team to find ways of alleviating the impact of the drought. In late 2017, drilling for groundwater began, however, this has proven not to be feasible as the geology in the areas of Hankey and Patensie is not conducive to groundwater retention.

The Kouga region was declared a disaster area in May 2017 and the Kouga Dam level is currently at 9.23%. It is clear that despite all the efforts from the municipality to find alternative water sources and residents to save water, more help is needed.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, as the custodian of water in South Africa, has the legal mandate as per the National Water Act to assist municipalities facing severe droughts and water shortages.

It is the responsibility of the national department to source the bulk water supply to municipalities across the country, in order to enable them to deliver this precious resource to residents.

The DA will continue to hold the Minister accountable for her failure to show decisive leadership as millions of South Africans in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Limpopo and Free State face an uncertain future due to the water crises in their provinces.

Leon Basson MP

DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation

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