“I have decided not to renew the State of the National Drought Disaster when it lapses on 13 June 2018,” Mkhize said on Wednesday.
The minister’s announcement follows the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought and Water Scarcity announcement in March 2018 that government had declared a national state of disaster to deal with the country’s drought crisis.
Mkhize said since the declaration, various interventions were initiated or intensified by the respective spheres of government at local, region and national levels
“These interventions were executed within the prescribed existing legislation and the respective contingency arrangements developed to deal with the acute phase of the drought,” Mkhize said.
The various spheres of government mobilised and reprioritised resources in their existing allocations, expediting procurement processes and accessing US$36 million from the respective disaster grants to implement the augmentation and other immediate relief projects, the minister said.
Of this amount, Mkhize said, some $29 million was transferred during the 2017/18 financial year and US$7 million will be transferred from the Provincial Disaster Grant during 2018/19 financial year.
“The implementation of these immediate relief and augmentation projects are ongoing and has evidently already mitigated the immediate impact of the drought,” the minister said.
During May 2018, the National Joint Drought Coordinating Committee (NJDCC) conducted assessments which showed that the acute phase of the drought in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape Provinces, and some smaller pockets in the country, is at its end and is now entering the resilience building phase.
The resilience-building phase of a drought is currently the key focus of dealing with drought as a concern for adaptation to climate change.
This entailed, among others, improving the identification, funding, coordination and management of resilience-building projects aimed at reducing vulnerability to drought, according to the NDJCC.
To achieve this, Mkhize said the NDJCC would broaden its focus beyond the continual monitoring of resilience-building projects to include focused projects funded from the allocations of the respective organs of state in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework aimed at the identification and implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction projects.