Government has set aside R6-billion to tackle the drought situation in the Western Cape‚ the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape.
In his budget speech on Wednesday‚ Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said the money would be used to augment water infrastructure in the three provinces. Particular focus was in Cape Town because government was worried about potential job losses‚ especially in the agricultural sector.
Gigaba said short-term disaster relief for the three provinces would also amount to R473-million in the 2018/2019 financial year owing to the devastating drought.
“Government is concerned by potential job losses in vulnerable farming communities as a result of the drought. We are therefore exploring the option of partially mitigating losses by temporarily increasing intake in the working for water programme‚” he said.
“National government will continue to work with municipalities to respond effectively to the water crisis.”
Gigaba urged South Africans to conserve water‚ saying it was a water scarce country with some of the highest per capita daily consumption of water in the world.