Gauteng narrowly escaped the list of drought-hit areas where a state of disaster was declared in eight provinces.
The effects of the drought was heightened by the poor state of the country’s water infrastructure‚ water losses and a failure to implement strict water saving measures has worsened the effects of the drought leading to a state of disaster being declared in eight provinces.
Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs‚ Des van Rooyen‚ confirmed at an inter-ministerial drought task team meeting on Thursday that there is danger looming in the drought-hit areas.
“The drought situation is still gloomy. Disasters do not happen in a vacuum‚ but in communities where people stay‚” he said.
“Among the measures that should be considered in addressing the drought conditions are disaster management plans and other seasonal-related contingency plans. Our people do not have much information. There should be increased communication of drought-related information to all communities.”
He acknowledged the fact that the drought conditions experienced in most parts of the country were as a result of natural phenomenon that can easily be linked to low rainfalls and high temperatures and heatwaves.
The natural phenomenon that led to the drought was made worse by the poor state of water-related infrastructure in the country‚ water losses through indiscriminate uses and the lack of implementation of stringent water conservation measures in the drought-hit areas.
“These conditions have resulted in eight provinces being declared states of disaster‚ with the exception being Gauteng. However‚ we have intervened in many parts of the country‚ with the assistance of state-owned Entities‚ private sector and non-governmental organisations. This assistance included the drilling of boreholes and distribution of millions of litres of drinking water‚” he said.
According to Minister Rooyen, some affected provinces in South Africa have chosen to rely solely on government to bring aid to them instead of making judicious use of the available resources quickly enough to deal with the crisis at hand.
With the exception of Gauteng which has a dam level of 86% of capacity this week, the Department of Water and Sanitation figures show some disturbing dams levels which appear to be critically low.
~Western Cape dams 30%
~Northern Cape 57%
~KwaZulu Natal 49%
~Free State 54%