Zokwana washes his hands of the drought crisis – Solidarity

Eugene Brink questions why the minister is refusing to declare a national disaster, despite R16bn losses

Zokwana washes his hands of the drought crisis – Solidarity

Trade union Solidarity today said government cannot step away from its duty to handle the drought as a priority and accordingly take tangible steps to bring relief.

This comes after Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana again said that, notwithstanding losses of R16 billion, government was not going to declare the drought a national disaster. He also insisted that the situation had improved in certain cases.

According to Solidarity senior researcher Dr Eugene Brink, this drought is the first severe drought the ANC has to contend with. Before 1994, government used to intervene in case of drought but the current government seems to be reluctant to do so.

After all, commercial farmers are food producers and major taxpayers and the drought is a problem that impacts far beyond just the farming community. Surrounding towns, suppliers of agricultural products and consumers are already feeling the pinch and it is going to intensify.

“Money could be found for the no fees campaign (affecting but a small segment in the country) yet money to avert a far more serious crisis can apparently not be found,” Brink contends.

The Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) in January released a concise report of the course the current drought has taken since its onset in 2015. Click here to view the complete report.

Statement issued by Dr Eugene Brink, Senior researcher: SRI, 9 March 2016