The Democratic Alliance has welcomed the announcement by Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, that the Province will submit a request to the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) to declare the Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Baartman District Municipalities a drought disaster area.
Kouga Municipality forms part of the Sarah Baarman District Municipality and is heavily affected by the drought with the Gamtoos Valley and the wider St Francis Bay area bearing the brunt at this stage, with the Kouga, Churchill and Impofu Dams all in danger of running dry.
In Nelson Mandela Bay, dams have now reached a record low with combined capacity set to drop below 11% on Friday, 25th of June 2021.
The municipality recently announced that the first community that will be affected by the water shortage would be KwaNobuhle, just outside Kariega (Uitenhage). It is expected that taps in KwaNobhule will run dry within the first week of July 2021.
In Graaff-Reinet, in the Dr Beyers Naude Municipality, no further water can be extracted from the Nqweba dam which is currently standing at only 7,7% of total capacity.
As a result, the town now solely relies on groundwater sources and regularly experiences water shortages.
The Democratic Alliance has long been calling that the Eastern Cape be declared a drought disaster area. The Premier last declared a drought disaster in the province in October 2019.
“Unfortunately, Eastern Cape Provincial Departments, as well as municipalities, can’t qualify for much-needed drought disaster funding from National Government unless a drought disaster has been declared.
Disaster funding is urgently needed by affected municipalities to fund drought mitigation as well as water augmentation programmes. In addition, farmers who have been plagued by the six-year-long drought are also in desperate need of some financial assistance,” said Retief Odendaal, the DA Shadow MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform in the Eastern Cape.