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NC declared a disaster area

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On Friday, Sisulu pledged R300 million to be availed immediately to provide emergency relief towards the severe drought programmes.

THE MINISTER of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, declared the Northern Cape a disaster area due to the severe drought being experienced in all five districts of the Province.

On Friday, Sisulu pledged

R300 million to be availed immediately to provide emergency relief towards the severe drought programmes.

The declaration is expected to enable the provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land Reform, Environment and Nature Conservation, with the assistance of the national Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, to respond decisively to the drought situation in the Province.

Additional funds will also be used for funding alternative water sources such as drilling of boreholes and water technology.

“We have then agreed to go into emergency mode and to urgently kick-start the necessary measures in addressing the drought in the Province,” she said.

Sisulu was flanked by relevant stakeholders from national and provincial level, where Premier Zamani Saul announced that 80% of the Province was affected by drought while 60% was declared severe drought areas.

Sisulu, who highlighted the challenges around the maintenance of boreholes within the Province, promised that the capacity of boreholes will be increased through the utilisation of innovative technologies to determine where the water is.

Sisulu also highlighted her concerns after learning about the bad state of the existing waste treatment plant, which she went to inspect.

A full-fledged programme will be released on how the department will assist municipalities to have proper water treatment plants and engineers from different provinces.

The Province has put together a team that is currently working on a master plan to improve the existing bulk infrastructure services.

A Water Service Infrastructure Grant was availed by the minister for implementation purposes.

The department promises to prioritise the issue of security at the infrastructures to curb vandalism and sabotage. Technology will also be used as a security measure on the systems.

Sabotage and non-performance of workers will also be put on the priorities to be dealt with.

The Northern Cape remains a catalytic project for human settlement following the declaration by the minister of Human Settlements for the eradication of informal settlements back in 2012 due to the low population as determined by a census.

Sisulu said the Province still continues to be the trial province as she does not want to find 42 people living in one household next time she returns.

“That is just unacceptable,” said Sisulu.

A Housing Development Agency (HDA) programme will be commissioned to help the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs, with R168 million being allocated to start it off with.