Minister of cooperative governance Zweli Mkhize. FILE PHOTO: Zweli Mkhize official Twitter page

JOHANNESBURG - Cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Zweli Mkhize has welcomed the funding allocated to deal with drought that continues to wreak havoc in parts of the country. 

In a medium term budget policy statement to parliament on Wednesday, finance minister Tito Mboweni said R3.2 billion had been allocated to deal with the effects of drought and water scarcity while R1.6 billion would be used to grapple with the impact of storms and fires. 

The funds will strengthen mitigation measures in the face of the current weather outlook pointing to the possible occurrence of the El Nino phenomenon during the 2018/19 summer season through to the winter rainfall season. 

Mkhize, who is chairperson of an inter-ministerial task team on drought and water scarcity, said these allocations would assist affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces where a state of disaster was declared as the damage caused exceeded their capacity.

Storms devastated parts of KZN and the Western Cape last year while fires left much of Knysna a wasteland.

"The allocated funds will go a long way in alleviating the effects of the prevailing and future drought conditions and the negative impact of climate change and variability being experienced by our country," Mkhize said.

He urged all relevant roIe-players to use the funds prudently, guided by approved plans.

- African News Agency (ANA)