SA can’t afford to declare drought a national disaster – Steyn

To avoid an economic and humanitarian disaster government needs to take urgent action and declare a national disaster.

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“The current drought situation in South Africa has reached crisis point and the government doesn’t get it,” said DA MP Annette Steyn at a recent media briefing on the current national state of the drought.

She emphasized that the DA was not out to bash the ANC: “They are not responsible for the drought. What they are responsible for is to manage it, and that they haven’t done.”

The DA also wants government to establish an ad hoc committee to deal with drought alleviation. However, it is still waiting for a response from the speaker on this request. “For this committee we will need about R10 million rand,” said Steyn.

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Asked why government has yet to declare a national disaster, Steyn said there wasn’t enough money in the budget.

“We are all aware of the #feesmustfall campaign that is putting huge pressure and constraints on the fiscus,” she said.

Steyn added that the agriculture sector is also already highly indebted, with the total debt averaging about R117 billion in November last year, an increase of about 14% from the previous year.

Steyn said the crisis was not limited to commercial farming, but extended to small-scale farmers and every citizen in South Africa.

“Some farmers will be forced to let their workers go, while food prices, particularly maize and wheat, would spike in the next few months.”

Visit to find out how you can donate towards drought relief.