Statement by Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell.

Western Cape allocates further R82.5 million for drought

The Western Cape cabinet has approved the allocation of an additional amount of R82.5 million to the Provincial Department of Local Government for drought augmentation projects in the province.

This brings the total amount allocated by the Department on water augmentation projects since 1 April 2017 to R108.7 million.

The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, says the new additional funding approved will be focused on municipalities that border the City of Cape Town and which rely on the same water supply system as the city.

“These municipalities are Saldanha Bay, Drakenstein and Swartland. The funds will go to relief measures including new water augmentation and demand management projects to avoid a situation where communities may run out of water. We remain committed to assist the city in combating the ongoing drought crisis by reducing the pressure on the greater system.”

Graham Paulse, the Head of the Provincial Department for Local Government says that the department’s initial spending went towards assisting municipalities outside the Cape Town region and across the greater province who were in distress due to the ongoing drought.

“The department has been assisting multiple municipalities across the province for a number of years with drought relief and projects. These included towns like Beaufort West and Ladismith. Following the past peak season over December, we can confidently state that the support the Department offered succeeded and have managed to stave off any community running out of water entirely, despite the difficult conditions.”

Bredell has called on the public to continue to save water and says the department remains in ongoing talks with national government regarding further support.

“To date the Western Cape Government has received in total disaster relief funding amounting to R74 million of which 44% has already been spent and the remainder is already fully committed towards projects. In addition, the National Department granted extension for spending of the allocated funds.  This money was allocated with strict instruction from National Government as follows:

Ø  R40 million towards agriculture for livestock feed

Ø  R20 million to the City of Cape Town to assist in drilling into the aquifers only

Ø  R14 million for relief projects in only two other municipalities, Bitou and Theewaterskloof.

“We look forward to further support from our national government counterparts. From our side, the engineers and officials remain on the frontline across the province assisting municipalities in combating this terrible disaster.”