Deputy President David Mabuza has announced urgent intervention mechanisms to address the challenge of drought in the Northern Cape province.
Deputy President Mabuza was on Friday at Aggeneys, Khai Ma local municipality, Namakwa District, in the Northern Cape province as part of the Land Reform and Integrated Farmer Support Programme.
The deputy president visited Northern Cape following an undertaking he made on 25 July 2019 during oral replies in the National Assembly, that government working together with stakeholders within agricultural sector would develop a co-ordinated approach to the challenge of drought affecting the area.
The Northern Cape is experiencing persistent drought in all of its five districts. Almost 15 500 farms with a carrying capacity of about 613 447 large stock units are in distress.
Noting the direct impact of the drought and potential escalation if the drought prevails, government held a successful meeting with organised agriculture to develop intervention mechanisms to respond to this challenge.
Mabuza committed government to provide urgent relief to the Northern Cape farming community whose livestock is mostly affected by the drought conditions.
Government has reprioritised about R30 million for immediate intervention in the procurement and distribution of fodder for the farming community as a short-term measure.
Government has committed also to provide assistance for the production of fodder to increase the capacity of the Fodder Bank established by the province.
With regards to the challenge of water availability, the deputy president has directed government to increase the capacity of water provision by drilling more boreholes through the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation.
Government will engage with the Land Bank to establish ways to providing relief for defaulting farmers affected by drought. Various government departments will work together to resolve issues around declaration and classification of the drought in the Northern Cape.
As part of his visit to the Northern Cape province, Mabuza had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Khoi San communities who raised issues on the outstanding land claims, progress so far achieved on the Khoi San Bill and their participation in the structures of theTraditional Leadership Council.
Mabuza has committed government to follow up on all outstanding matters on the provision of integrated support for farmers, as well as issues affecting the leadership of the Khoi San communities.
“This collective and rapid response by our government on issues raised in Parliament as a representative body of the people, indicates that when we work together in unity and prioritise issues affecting all our people beyond sectarian interests, our country can move forward with required speed,” he said.
Mabuza was accompanied by the minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, the Premier of the Northern Cape province, Zamani Saul, MECs and senior government officials.