The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Zweli Mkhize, has taken a decision not to renew the State of National Drought Disaster which lapsed today in terms of legislation.

Mkhize says since the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) on Drought and Water Scarcity announced on 13 March 2018 that government had declared a national state of disaster to deal with the country’s drought crisis various interventions were initiated or intensified by the respective spheres of government.

“These interventions were executed within the prescribed existing legislation and the respective contingency arrangements developed to deal with the acute phase of the drought,” Mkhize explains.

The various spheres of government mobilised and reprioritised resources in their existing allocations. They expedited procurement processes and accessed R433.52 million from the respective disaster grants to implement the augmentation and other immediate relief projects.

Of this amount, Mkhize says, R348.83 million was transferred during the 2017/18 financial year and R84.67 million will be transferred from the Provincial Disaster Grant during 2018/19 financial year.

“The implementation of these immediate relief and augmentation projects are ongoing and has evidently already mitigated the immediate impact of the drought,” the Minister adds.

Building resilience

During May 2018, the National Joint Drought Coordinating Committee (NJDCC) conducted assessments which showed that the acute phase of the drought in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and some smaller pockets in the country is at its end, and is now entering the resilience building phase.

The resilience-building phase of a drought entails, among others, improving the identification, funding, coordination and management of resilience-building projects aimed at reducing vulnerability to drought.

To achieve this, Mkhize says the NDJCC will broaden its focus beyond the continual monitoring of resilience-building projects to include focused projects funded from the allocations of the respective organs of state in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) aimed at the identification and implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction projects.