Relatively late rains and a fairly short rainfall season in the late summer rainfall areas, coupled with a lack of follow-up rains, have led to a gradual deterioration in veld conditions
THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has received R42 million for the month of April for the Drought Relief Programme.
The money, which was received from the National Disaster Management Centre, is to assist farmers who were hardest hit by drought in Namaqua and a part of Pixley ka Seme district municipalities.
Spokesperson for the department, Phemelo Manankong, said yesterday that farmers in the winter rainfall areas were at this stage suffering from the effects of drought and were in a dire need for assistance, so the funds had “come in handy”.
“The available funds will be used for farmers who applied for the drought relief in Namaqua and part of Pixley ka Seme District Municipality. About 2 380 farmers are set to benefit from these funds which will be used for the provision of livestock feed.”
Manankong added that the Namaqua District had already started issuing vouchers to farmers who had applied for drought relief, while Pixley ka Seme would start distribution next week.
“Relatively late rains and a fairly short rainfall season in the late summer rainfall areas, coupled with a lack of follow-up rains, have led to a gradual deterioration in veld conditions,” Manankong said.
While the Vaal Dam is currently 106.8% full and Bloemhof Dam 97.5% – and expected to rise further in the next few days – dam levels in the Northern Cape are lower than they were this time last year.
The average dam level in the Province, according to the Department of Water Affairs, is currently 78%, as opposed to 97.9% this time last year, and 82.3% last week.
The Karee Dam is currently empty and has been empty for the last year. The dam supplies water to the community of Calvinia and the community is reliant on water from seven boreholes refurbished as part of drought relief interventions. The boreholes contribute approximately 55 kilolitres of water per hour and are connected to the town’s water supply network.
The Boegoeberg Dam is 108.4% full (down from 111.8% last week), while the Douglas Weir is 109.3% full (109.8% last week and 111.5% last year), the Spitskop Dam on the Harts River is 58.9% full (57.6% last week and 102.4% last year) and the Vaalharts Weir on the Vaal River is 78.8% full (91.1% last week and 87.3% last year).
The Minister of Co-operative Governance, Zeli Mkhize, announced last month that the Northern Cape would receive R165.8 million for drought funding after the drought was earlier declared a national disaster.
According to the minister, the Northern Cape would receive
R36.8 million for water infrastructure projects (from the Municipal Disaster Grant), while the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development would provide R127 million for the provision and transportation of livestock feed.
This amount will be transferred in three tranches: R42.3 million in 2017/18 and the remaining amount will be transferred in two tranches during the 2018/19 financial year.
The R36.8 million from the Municipal Disaster Grant will be allocated to the following municipalities: Kareeberg – R4.6 million; Richtersveld R15.2 million; Nama Khoi R4.5 million; Hantam
R8.5 million; and Kamiesberg
The allocation for the provision and transportation of livestock feed will be for the Pixley District Municipality and the Namaqua District Municipality.
The minister pointed out that the funds for the Municipal Provincial Disaster Grants were transferred to the recipients earlier this month.
“The remaining funds for the agriculture sector in the Northern Cape will be transferred in two separate instalments during the 2018/19 financial year, based on the conditions of the ground as well as the progress on the implementation of relief measures within the affected communities.”