Premier must declare districts disaster areas after devastating hail storms

By Jacques Smalle (MPL), DA spokesperson for COGHSTA:

The DA calls on the Premier to immediately intervene in declaring several areas which have been hardest hit by the recent hailstorms as disaster areas.

The Elim- Levubu area in Makhado as well as the Sekhukhune and Hoedspruit region have been continuously affected by a series of rain, hail and windstorms which caused significant damage to private and commercial property.

The DA is concerned that the MEC of COGHSTA, MEC Makhurupetje is not consistent with the provincial disaster management framework under the Disaster Management Act, no.57. 2002. This clearly stipulates that she must submit a disaster analysis report to the provincial legislature within 30 days after 15 days receipt of the report from the provincial disaster management centre.

The report would have ensured that this province already has a rapid and effective response to the current crisis in these areas.

We have received various troubling calls from farmers in these areas who are overwhelmed with the vast damage to their livestock and crops as result of the severe drought and current storms.

Statistics SA indicates that Limpopo’s agricultural sector employs 145 000 people and its activities are responsible for nearly 16.3 % of the country’s overall agricultural output.

A declaration of disaster over these areas as well as intervention by the MEC of Agriculture would, without a doubt, go a long way in safeguarding jobs. It will assure many of these farmers who employ up to a 1000 workers per season, that they have all the necessary support they require.

The DA further calls on the MEC of COGHSTA to speedily provide the Disaster management report as well as a comprehensive report of all the interventions by her department, to the Legislature for adoption.

The MEC of Agriculture needs to immediately conduct a comprehensive analysis of the impact the prevailing weather conditions has had on all farms and the specific assistance she can provide to alleviate their plight.

The DA believes that a well integrated and coordinated inter-departmental disaster management plan by the MEC’s would go a long way in responding effectively to needs the most vulnerable in our province.