It appears that no money has been set aside for the looming water crisis in Cape Town and the Western Cape. The Cape Messenger peppered the Finance Minister with questions about the absence of any mention of the water crisis in the medium term budget policy documents
“The good thing is the rains have come with the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement… this is a sign,” said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba at a media briefing during the media lockup ahead of the mini-budget on Wednesday.
Asked if the absence of monies – such as contingency funds – in the MTBPS documents for the disaster that was looming in the Western Cape was an indication of a political problem, the minister said:
“There is absolutely no political issues on our part we manage the nation’s finances, we don’t play political games with them. The people of the Western Cape are as South African as any other. We would not say to them because of who the majority of those who have voted for (the governing party in Cape Town and the Western Cape) that we (are going to) thirst them to death.”
It would be “irresponsible to do that. We look forward to more rains.”
“We do know that areas like Khayellitsha and other black townships… (rains) cause havoc, but the rains are required.”
The national treasury director general Dondo Mogajane said the government had a system involving the National Management Disaster Council which fell under the local government department. “They look at the issues, work out the estimates and present that. Resources are available for such emergencies.”
He pointed out that R200 million had been provided in the last year for drought emergencies. “This issue (the WC drought) is on the radar.”
However, there was no mention of the drought in the medium term budget policy documents including the adjusted estimates of national expenditure which includes the water and sanitation vote.