Mkhize welcomes funding for drought relief

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Zweli Mkhize, in his capacity as chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought and Water Scarcity, has welcomed the funding allocations to deal with the scourge of drought that has gripped and continues to wreak havoc in some parts of the country.  

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni during his maiden Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday announced that R3.2 billion has been allocated for drought relief efforts.

The funding relief, Mkhize said, has also been allocated to deal with the effects of storms which devastated parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape last year.

“A total of R3.2 billion has been allocated to deal with the effects of drought and water scarcity and R1.6 billion to deal with the effects of storms and fires. The funding will also strengthen mitigation measures in the face of the current weather outlook which points to the possible occurrence of an El Nino phenomenon during the 2018/19 summer season through to the winter rainfall season,” Mkhize said on Thursday.

The allocations, he said, were important as they will assist affected communities in KZN, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. 

In the budget speech in February this year, Treasury had set aside a provisional allocation of R6-billion in 2018/19 for several purposes, including drought relief and to augment public infrastructure investment.

The disbursement of this allocation for drought will be led by the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought and Water Scarcity and will be available from January 2019.

This Post-Disaster Recovery Funding has been allocated through the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2018/19, which will be accessed within in-year and 2019/2020 and 2020/21 respectively.

The R1.62 billion will flow over the 2018 MTEF as follows:

  • 2018/19: R638.6 million largely for municipal infrastructure, hospitals and schools in KZN and WC.
  • 2019/20: R580.6 million largely for human settlements and schools in KZN and WC.
  • 2020/21: R400 million solely for human settlements in KZN and the WC.

The R3.2-billion funding allocation made from the contingency reserve to deal with Drought and Water scarcity is channelled through the responsible departments in the following breakdown:

  • Department of Cooperative Governance for water infrastructure in affected municipalities has been allocated R1.025-billion.
  • Department of Water and Sanitation have been granted R1.3-billion for water infrastructure to affected municipalities.
  • Department of Environmental Affairs has been allocated R318-million to remove invasive species and water weeds; Wetland restoration and addressing post fire.
  • Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been allocated R566.5-million for soil and water care; provision of livestock feed and water infrastructure and removal of invasive species amongst others in the affected provinces and municipalities.

The flow of the funds, Mkhize said, will be made in terms of section 6(2)(b) of the 2018 Appropriation Act, enabling expenditure announced by the Minister of Finance in the Budget Speech to be allocated to sectors.

“All allocations approved through windows 1 and 2 are expected to flow in the month of October 2018 and this is subject to departments requesting for approval from the National Treasury to revise their drawings,” he said.

He added that the funding allocation was guided by the evaluation criteria applied in line with the extent of the need and the desired impact.

“The National Joint Drought Coordinating Committee (NJDCC) chaired by the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) will monitor implementation of these drought interventions and report to regularly to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drought and Water Scarcity.

“The allocated funds will go a long way in alleviating the effects of the prevailing and future drought conditions and the negative impact of climate change and variability being experienced by our country.”

The funds, he added, will flow through the relevant sector grants to ensure that they are used for the intended purposes.

The Minister has urged all relevant roIe-players to use the funds prudently guided by the approved plans and ensure that they are able to address the intended course, while leaving a lasting developmental impact. –