Picture: Ross Jansen
Cape Town - The Western Cape DA has appealed to the national government for more drought relief funds after Level 6 water restrictions - that will further curb water for farms - were announced to come into effect on New Year’s Day.

The appeal comes after the City of Cape Town approved a special drought levy and Level 6 water restrictions.

The drought levy will be introduced in February, pending a public participation process. Beverley Schäfer, DA MPL and spokesperson on agriculture, is calling for a bigger capital investment from the national government.

“An estimated 50 000 jobs in the agricultural sector are set to be lost, amounting to a revenue loss of about R4.9 billion,” she said.

She said the Western Cape Department of Agriculture had already spent R67m in 2017 to support 1300 smallholder and commercial farmers.

“Through budget adjustments, R10m has been allocated towards boreholes for agriculture in Matzikama, and R2m for water tanks for communal use on farms in the province.

"We have also set up food gardens across the province to ensure food security in rural communities. This is money well spent to protect our farmers and rural residents against the drought,”

A report by Statistics South Africa on the national gross domestic product’s third quarter performance indicates that agriculture’s contribution to our national GDP has increased by 44.2%, she said.

ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said the introduction of the drought levy would not reduce the water-use.

“For one simple reason: households are the least users of water supply, at 12% of the total water consumption,” he said.

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Cape Argus