The Western Cape provincial government has earmarked R75 million to go towards assisting in the aftermath of the recent storms and fires as well as the ongoing worst drought in a century.

The decision follows a meeting with the provincial cabinet earlier today.

“Our government is committed to working with the local authorities to rebuild the lives of residents who have suffered great loss. This initial allocation of R75 million is a first step in this process. We will continually reassess the needs and priorities going forward,” said Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, who is currently in Knysna with President Jacob Zuma to visit some areas hit by the fires.

“The allocation of R75 million to assist with the recent disasters across the province was taken in terms of section 25 of the PFMA, which enables the Minister of Finance, Dr Ivan Meyer to authorise the use of funds from the Provincial Revenue Fund. The PFMA allows for this expenditure in exceptional circumstances,” the province said.

Respective departments across the province will also need to reprioritise existing budgets in response to the disaster.

The R75 million will be split up as follows:

-Transport and Public Works: R5 million to deal with road related infrastructure damages and an additional R800 000 for the transport cost of the emergency evacuation

-R15 million for school infrastructure as a result of adverse weather conditions and fires: The 2017 Main Budget made substantial funding available to Education for maintenance and these funds are already in the baseline of the Department.

-R1.2 million for Health infrastructure as a result of the storm and the fire: In addition, R15 million to support the Department to deal with the cost associated with the Swartland Hospital particularly for prefabricated units, replacement linen and technology. The 2017 Main Budget also made substantial funding available to Health for maintenance and these funds are already in the baseline of the department.

-Human Settlements: R7.5 million to deal with the displacement of people due to adverse weather conditions and fires in the City of Cape Town and fires in the Eden District with the focus mainly on the rural areas.

– R5 million for the Department of Social Development: Emergency humanitarian support and related expenditure to deal with the most vulnerable.

-The Department of Local Government: R15 million for disaster management co-ordination, drought assistance and key related infrastructure requirements at municipalities within the Provincial Government mandate. Within the Department of Local Government, funding for support to the municipalities have been strengthened in the 2017/18 Budget and departmental allocations to deal with the drought and climate response.

-Agriculture, R5.5 million as a funding intervention to mitigate the impact of natural and biological disasters on the agricultural sector at large.

– R3 million for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (Cape Nature, Working on Fire).

-R2 million for Community Safety for security requirements at care facilities.

“The Western Cape Government remains committed to working with anyone willing to assist in rebuilding the affected communities until they are restored to the vibrant and lively areas they were. We will not rest until this is done,” the province said.


[Image – CC 2.0 Tiago Cabral]