Following reports of the lingering effects of drought in the country, President Jacob Zuma urged South Africans not to see it as sign of punishment from divinity.
Addressing thousands of residents in isiZulu who gathered for a drought relief imbizo at the Melmoth sports grounds in KwaZulu-Natal, the president encouraged the people to still be patient as weather forecast says rain will be visiting the country soon.
“We are gathered here because there is a problem. The drought is still here even though the rain has fallen. It is a little bit late…I don’t want us to say we are… cursed because of our sins. The way we live life here on earth has affected our climate,” he said.
“They say after the drought, we will have heavy rains that will have devastating effects, that the rains will even tear down houses. After that there will be floods. All of this is climate change,” he added.
The South African Weather Service gave an early warning of severe thunderstorms expected over the southern parts of the Free State and the northeastern parts of the Eastern Cape on Monday night, 4 April, going into Tuesday.
The weather service further said there’s an 80% chance of rainfall on Monday afternoon and that the surrounding areas in the central North West province, southwestern Free State and most of the Eastern Cape are to expect a 60% chance of rain on Monday.
The East Coast will see a strong northeasterly wind of 45km/h blowing from Durban down to Port St Johns in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. In the Cape, a southerly wind of 30km/h can be expected.
However, Vryburg in the North West province is expected to be the hottest place in the country reaching a maximum temperature of 32°C while Pretoria in Gauteng and Bloemfontein in the Free State will reach a high of 28°C and Upington in the Northern Cape will be 29°C.
President Zuma reiterated the havoc caused by the drought saying he is aware of the sufferings of the people and that he is doing everything possible to bring relief to them.
“We know that communities are struggling, there is no water, the dam levels are down. I used to swim in uThukela river and even walk across it by foot and I was scared of it but now, the water levels are low.
“The drought has affected the whole of South Africa. There are five provinces that have been affected… Mpumalanga, Free State, North West, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.
“Even if you grow crops, there is little rain. That is why the government has decided to do whatever it needs to do to assist people who are faced with the crisis,” Zuma said.
Meanwhile, about R23-million has been pumped into the Mthonjaneni area, under which Melmoth falls, as part of government interventions. But about 3000 residents in the area rely on tankers as their only source of water. The local dam is at 28% capacity.