Categories: South Africa

No reason to declare drought a national disaster, says govt task team

Despite challenging times ahead as well as long range forecasts showing below normal expected rainfall for South Africa, the drought will still not be declared a national disaster.

“The long range forecast shows below normal expected rainfall and therefore, little relief is anticipated in the coming months,” said Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen, who chairs the inter-ministerial task team set up to deal with the impact of the drought. The team briefed media on the latest status regarding the country’s drought.

Van Rooyen also said that there was a 15% decline in the national cattle herd between 2013 and 2016, and it was not likely that this situation would change over the short- to medium-term.

He also gave an update on the latest dam levels across the country, currently “at their lowest levels in years”.

“When we briefed the country last year, the national dam levels were estimated at 64,3% of our normal full supply. Since then, we have seen a drop in our storage quantity to the current 53% as at 5 September,” Van Rooyen said.

Fellow committee member and Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, emphasised that there was no reason to declare the drought a national disaster.

“We do have a possibility of living and making means with the little that we have, if we change our behavioural patterns regarding our water usage.”

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