NEWS & ANALYSIS

Government’s ‘concern’ over NC drought is a sham – DA NC

Party says govt seems to have stooped so low as to abuse disaster funding to try and recover some ground in its dismally performing municipalities

Government’s ‘concern’ over NC drought is a sham

13 February 2020

Government’s so-called concern for farmers and farm workers in the Northern Cape, who remain detrimentally affected by the worst drought this century, will require far more determined action if anyone is to take their drought relief initiatives seriously.

While the announcement of the declaration of the drought as a provincial disaster, on the eve of the ANC’s 108 birthday celebration in Kimberley, was welcomed by the DA, the commitment to assist with R300 million disaster funding seems to be nothing more than a sham.

According to MEC of Agriculture, NomandlaBloem, none of the disaster funding will be utilised for fodder for animals. At the same time, only R82 million of the bigger amount will go towards the drilling of boreholes for farmers.

At the same time, it is understood that the remaining R218 million will be pumped into ailing municipalities, who have failed dismally to upgrade their water infrastructure over the years. This includes dysfunctional municipalities, like Kareeberg municipality, that has still not found a solution to its water challenges in van Wyksvlei four years down the line.

One has to ask oneself, who does this government think its fooling?

With local government elections just around the corner, government seems to have stooped so low as to abuse disaster funding to try and recover some ground in its dismally performing municipalities. In other words, the ANC government doesn’t really care about the impact of the drought on farmers, farm workers and the greater rural communities, whose economies are slowly drying up. Instead, it cares about votes and staying in power.

Up until now, had it not been for private organisations and individuals who have provided fodder and different forms of social relief to the provincial farming community, more Northern Cape farmers would have been on the brink of collapse.

The government has just two more months left to prove us wrong before the Northern Cape’s provincial disaster declaration expires – just two more months to put money in the mouths of starving livestock and to offer a safety net to embattled farmers, who are closing their farming ventures to the detriment of the economy, food security and the social wellbeing of workers and their families.

Issued by Reinette Liebenberg,DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Agriculture, Rural Development & Land Reform, 13 February 2020