South Africa: Eastern Cape Government Finally Declares Province a Disaster Area

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The Eastern Cape is in trouble: the provincial government is not doing enough, and the little they are doing may be too little, too late.

The Eastern Cape government has declared the province a drought disaster area and the premier is "considering" a request to meet farmers. However, the provincial government's upcoming mid-term budget shows no real signs of commitment to help farmers and residents of drought-stricken areas.

With the drought in its fifth year, so far the province has committed just under R3-million in drought relief funds and has budgeted for another R3.2-million in the upcoming mid-term budget.

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman from Gift of the Givers said his organisation has already spent more than R3-million on boreholes, fodder and bottled water just in the Graaff-Reinet area. He said they were sinking an eighth borehole and included eight interlink trucks with fodder, bottled water, food supplements for children and water brought from Makhanda with water tankers.

The Democratic Alliance's Retief Odendaal described the province's drought intervention as "laughable".

"It is clear to me that they have no clue what is happening on the ground," he said.

The Western Cape recently committed R148-million to drought relief, with R50-million being made available...

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