The elevation on Tuesday of the water crises in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape to a national disaster provides for the release of disaster relief funds, but there is doubt whether the funding under existing provisions will be adequate, especially in agriculture. Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday that a provisional allocation of R6bn for 2018-19 had been set aside for several purposes, not just for drought relief. In the short term, the budget included disaster relief grants for provinces and municipalities of R501m for the year, he said. The government was concerned about the potential job losses in vulnerable farming communities because of the drought, Mkhize said. "We are therefore exploring strengthening existing government programmes, including the option of partially mitigating losses by temporarily increasing personnel intake in the Working for Water programme." But water experts have cast doubt about this approach. P...

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