Western Cape appeals for Zuma's help with drought

Cape Town – The Western Cape appealed for assistance from national government with the drought and water crisis engulfing the province at a meeting of President Jacob Zuma's coordinating council on Tuesday at Tuynhuys, in Cape Town.

James-Brent Styan, spokesperson for Western Cape MEC for local government, environmental affairs and development planning Anton Bredell, told News24 that among the things the province requested was drought relief for farmers and emergency relief funds for the drilling of boreholes.

One of the areas for which the boreholes, estimated to cost R25m, have been proposed is Beaufort West, which has run out of surface water.

"But we welcome any help," said Styan. "They (the inter-ministerial task team) indicated that they are willing to help."

The Presidency said in a statement that the meeting had agreed to refer the matter to the inter-ministerial task team led by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen which also includes the Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane "to address the challenge of drought and cover other affected provinces as well".

The PICC also received a progress report on the presidential War on Leaks Programme, which Zuma spearheads and is aimed at fighting water leaks while providing youth with skills like plumbing and in various artisan trades.

Constitutional, systemic and structural challenges relating to Eskom and municipalities on electricity reticulation were also presented to the meeting.

Zuma noted with concern the reported failures by some government departments and provinces to pay small businesses in particular within the stipulated 30 days of submitting legitimate invoices.

According to the Presidency, the PCC is a statutory meeting of the president with the leadership of provincial and local government that is held regularly to promote sound and effective cooperative governance.