Agri SA has welcomed the national drought disaster declaration published by Dr Tau, head of the National Disaster Management Centre, on 20 July 2021. The declaration is in response to an urgent request from farmers in drought-stricken areas of the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape provinces for drought relief.
“It is a positive step by the government to recognise the plight of these areas suffering from the severe disaster drought conditions by issuing a disaster declaration,” says Willem Symington, Agri SA chairman of the natural resources centre of excellence. “We hope that there will be sufficient action and assistance to help the agricultural sector and local economies in support to cope with the effects of the catastrophic drought.”
In terms of the powers conferred on Dr Tau, he calls on state organs to strengthen existing structures and activate contingency plans to address the disaster. He further requested the South African National Defense Force, South African Police Service and any other organ of state to support the National Disaster Management Centre to prepare and submit reports on the drought conditions.
“The bureaucratic red tape and insufficient budget for drought relief by the government have deprived farmers and farmworkers in the drought-stricken areas of their livelihoods, but despite this, we are positive that national resources will be made available to address the disaster,” says Andrea Campher, risk and disaster manager at Agri SA.