Government has moved to allay fears that it’s not taking the prolonged drought gripping parts of the country seriously enough.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu spoke directly to the communities worst affected, saying government – and her department specifically – does have a plan.
There are parts of the Eastern Cape that haven’t had running water for months now.
Residents in the area told Eyewitness News two weeks ago that they blame government mismanagement and a general lack of care for their situation.
But Sisulu says that’s not true.
“The government has assessed drought conditions in each province and came up with a number of short, medium and long-term interventions. We are aware of the distress that is being caused by the lack of water, we’re working on it and what we’ve outlined is what we’re going to do.”
The plans to restore water to parched areas include the rehabilitation of boreholes and the drilling of new ones, as well as a scheme to acquire water tankers so that government has control over deliveries of water to such communities.
And those plans could not come soon enough for the estimated 570 towns across the nation that Sisulu’s department lists as drought-affected.
In the Western Cape, there are 40 areas affected by drought and some dams are in a critical state.
Dams in the Eastern Cape are below 10%, and of the 46 dams, only two are 100% full. Forty-four of the towns and surrounding communities are affected by drought.
In the North West province, three out of 28 dams are in a critical state.