Deputy President David Mabuza has visited farmers in the drought-stricken province of Northern Cape.
Mabuza’s visit on Friday fulfilled a commitment he made to Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) leader Pieter Groenewald in Parliament in July.
He pledged to visit drought-stricken provinces of Northern Cape, Free State and North West “as part of our government’s response to integrated farmer support in order to ensure jobs and food security.”
Rapid response mechanisms
The Deputy President was accompanied by Groenewald, Agriculture and Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza, and Northern Cape Premier Saul Zamani.
They toured Aggeneys in the Khai Ma Municipality, Namakwa District.
According to an earlier press release, the visit’s aim was to “provide a platform to evaluate rapid response mechanisms” for farmers experiencing drought.
Mabuza also met representatives of the Khoi San Communities to address others issues such as housing.
“All of us as leaders are duty-bound to work together to foster the unity of our people, social cohesion across all sectors of our society and the elevation of public participation,” Mabuza said.
Northern Cape particularly affected
Northern Cape has been particularly affected by the ongoing drought and the situation could get worse if the summer season fails to bring adequate rain.
In a Twitter post, Groenewald also described the drought’s impact as “severe.”
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape issued a statement ahead of the visit reiterating its call for the drought to be declared a Provincial Disaster.
The party said 62,000 agriculture-related jobs in the province could be lost if government fails to intervene urgently.
We hope Mabuza will succeed in putting pressure on the Provincial Government to speed up the official drought declaration and funding of drought relief to the province.Reinette Liebenberg, DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson on Agriculture
Following the 8 May elections, President Cyril Ramaphosa tasked Mabuza with leading government land reform and agricultural support efforts.