Not good. South Africa has officially entered a second ‘State of Disaster’ this week, running parallel to the coronavirus restrictions that remain in place. As declared by COGTA, the drought affecting several provinces has been reclassified.
South Africa enters a NEW State of Disaster
Dr. Mmaphaka Tau, the head of the National Disaster Management Centre, confirmed the news after it was gazetted by the government on Tuesday evening. The drought, which is prevalent in all three of the Cape Provinces and ‘sporadic pockets’ elsewhere in the country, will now have to be managed by our elected officials at a national level.
“After assessing the magnitude and severity of the drought occurring in parts of the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and some pockets within other provinces, we hereby give notice that the drought will be classified as a national disaster – as per the Disaster Management Act.”
“The primary responsibility to coordinate and manage this disaster is designated to the national executive. We call upon organs of state to further strengthen support to their existing structures allowing government to deal with this disaster.”
SA drought to require ‘national intervention’
We’ve been here before: In the past decade, punishing periods of drought have pushed South Africa to the limit. Cape Town, and the rest of the Western Cape, endured an almighty scare in 2017 as the dams emptied, and the threat of ‘day zero’ grew exponentially. Some timely winter rains helped save the Mother City from an unprecedented disaster.
In March 2020, the State of Disaster laws for COVID-19 came into place, imposing severe restrictions on personal movement and basic civil liberties. Some 16 months later, the virus continues to wreak havoc across the country. The lockdown has been a tough ask for millions of South Africans – and many now face the additional threat of drought.
The fact we have to contend with TWO parallel State of Disaster laws just about sums up the state of SA right now.