DA Proposes Drought Relief Motion

Speech by: Ina Cilliers MPL

“Innovation the key to mitigate drought effect on Gauteng Agricultural sector”

  • In Gauteng we have the talent, the resources and the technology to implement effective strategies to farm and live in a semi-arid environment, in the midst of a drought that is never going to abate completely;
  • Every time you flush a toilet, 9 litres of quality water is lost. Municipalities could start exploring dry sanitation solutions, and rewarding communities for grey water recycling, the use of irrigation systems linked to weather stations and diversifying water resources instead of relying solely on rainwater.
  • Re-directing resources to fix and maintain reticulation infrastructure and implementing a rapid response approach to leaks has worked well in certain Western Cape municipalities where water losses stand at only 14%;
  • Drought relief must expand from drilling boreholes and providing fodder to providing farmers with permanent organic soil cover, drought resistant crop cultivars, no-till mechanisation, and precision farming applications. It is already much easier to download an extension officer from the app store than to see a live one from GDARD;
  • Government is still advocating agricultural methodology that is as old, outdated and downright bad for the farming economy.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by: Janho Engelbrecht MPL

“The poor will be hit hardest by Government’s inaction over drought”

  • Vast amounts of food are consumed in Gauteng, the most densely populated of all our provinces, therefore the people of this province are dependent on others for most of our food, and it is precisely this dependency that puts us at risk;
  • The drought is making it more expensive to operate, and that cost is being passed onto the consumer. This could have been avoided if government took urgent action and declared the drought a national disaster earlier this year, freeing up funding that would have resulted in better supply, and lower prices;
  • While we may not yet be experiencing food insecurity, we are already seeing increased community and household food insecurity amongst the poorest of the poor in Gauteng. Food price inflation increases hurt the poor when particular staple foods along with bread and cereals increase by 16%; fruit by 20% and vegetables by 15.4%;
  • We need real solutions to a crisis that has the potential to destabilize our province.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

 

 

Media Enquiries:

Ina Cilliers MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Agriculture

060 556 4344

 

Janho Engelbrecht MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Agriculture

060 556 4343

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Fiscal Crunch Hits Gauteng Housing, Health And Agriculture Grants

ANC National Government Failure

The failure of the ANC national government to effectively manage the country’s finances is filtering down to Gauteng, with the Provincial Government seeing a reduction in the grants it receives from National Government for service delivery cut by massive amounts over the next three years.

The following departments would see reductions in grants:

  • The Human Settlements Development Grant will be reduced by R1.6 billion in the 2016/17 Financial Year;
  • Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme Grant reduced by R210 million over the next three years; and
  • Health Facility Revitalization Grant reduced by R365 million over the next three years.

This will greatly impair the provincial government’s ability to deliver on its promises to provide housing and upgrade human settlements as outlined in by the Premier during the tabling of his office’s Annual Report last week.

In 2015/16 the Gauteng Human Settlements Department underspent on its grant and as a result under-delivered on its housing promises.

Agricultural Support Needed

The Premier pointed out in the same speech that he was unhappy with the performance of the Human Settlement department. This reduction will further impair the provinces performance in terms of housing.

Furthermore, in light of the severe drought, agricultural support is needed now more than ever in Gauteng to ensure that the sector remains viable. Drought has been cited as one of the reasons the South African economy is struggling.

The Gauteng province is similarly under pressure to ensure that its healthcare facilities are able to accommodate the needs of over 13 million people in the province, and the reduction in this grant will severely impact the provinces ability to deliver quality healthcare.

As much as the ANC in Gauteng tries to distance itself from President Jacob Zuma and the failings his administration, they are still one party with the same governing philosophy, and their ability to govern Gauteng is impacted by the President’s failings.

Gauteng Provincial Budget

The Gauteng Provincial Budget for the 2015/16 financial year does not plug these essential gaps, but the ANC government in Gauteng has still seen fit to ensure that there was a flurry of pre-election billboards marketing the provincial government and the premier.

Despite losing out on grants, the province still saw it fit to spend R100 million on ‘voter education’ for the local government election.

I challenge Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy and Premier Makura to take the approach adopted by DA Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga and slashing spending on lavish parties (such as the State of the Province Address) and unnecessary travel and getaways masked as department “study tours” and “strategic breakaways”.

I further challenge the ANC government in Gauteng to slash advertising in favour of service delivery.

 

Media enquiries:

Ashor Sarupen

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

060 558 8303

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Gauteng Drought Relief Funding Not Enough To Stop Food Shortages

National Disaster

The R20 million drought relief set aside by Gauteng Finance MEC, Barbara Creecy, in her 2016/17 budget will offer small relief to the agricultural sector in the province when at least a R140 million is required to mitigate the impact the drought has had.

This drought, the worst in 104 years, has had a tremendous impact on the 720 smallholders and 500 commercial farmers in the province that there has been an increase in the number of unemployed farm workers, increased food prices, food insecurity among the poorest of the poor and will see many farmers going out of business.

The DA calls on Gauteng Premier David Makhura and his cabinet to push to have an agricultural drought declared in Gauteng, in support of the declaration of a National Disaster.

Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Premier Makhura must also ensure that the drought relief includes support in the commercial sector such as farm worker wage subsidies, providing soft production loans for farmers in severe distress, rigorously introducing conservation agriculture principles in all Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development activities, and providing interest rate subsidies to commercial farmers in distress for the winter planting season.

If these steps are not followed immediately, Gauteng will not only face an agricultural drought, but also a socio-economic drought where physical water shortages will directly affect the health and daily prospects of the people of Gauteng.

 

Media enquiries:

Ina Cilliers MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Agriculture

060 556 4344

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Water Crisis: Gauteng Schools Negatively Affected

Water Shortages

Water shortages and the current drought in Gauteng are having a negative impact on school nutrition (feeding scheme) programmes at schools across the province.

Class contact time is also being lost and examinations are affected as schools shut their doors due the lack of water supply and extreme weather conditions.

Asking learners to go home is not a sustainable solution as schools are a conducive environment for learning and benefiting from school programmes such as nutrition and sport.

Drinking Water & Comfort

Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, must ensure that adequate measures are in place to circumvent the impact the drought has on school programmes and examinations.

The MEC should implement an emergency strategy at matric examination centres across the province to ensure that there are zero disruptions, and that matriculants will be provided with drinking water in the event shortages.

Room temperatures at examination centres must also be monitored by the Department to provide comfort.

 

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

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