Zuma’s N$100 million aid to dry Namibia raises a stink
South Africa’s official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has raised objections to President Jacob Zuma’s pledging of a N$100 million drought relief support to Namibia while farmers in their country are also suffering from a “devastating’ drought.
During a two-day state visit to Namibia earlier this month, Zuma announced a N$100 million drought relief package to Namibia saying the benevolent gesture would complement global efforts to help Namibia minimise the impact of drought on food security.
“When we came here we realized just how severe the drought is. We felt it was important for us to support our Namibian neighbours in their time of need. So, we contributed a package that totals R100 million. This money will be utilized to relieve them from this scourge they are faced with,” Zuma was reported as saying.
However, Farmers Weekly, a South African agriculture magazine reported in its latest edition this week that DA spokesperson for agriculture Annete Steyn had called for the South African government to prioritise South African farmers who are also fighting the effects of drought.
“Relief for South Africa must be put first, before committing elsewhere,” Steyn was quoted as saying. Steyn said that she would write to South Africa Minister of Agriculture Tina Joemat-Pettersson, requesting that she prioritise drought relief with the same sense of urgency that the Elliot region in the Eastern Cape received earlier this year after fires surrounded ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s farm. “I will also put forward parliamentary questions at the next opportunity to assess what has been done for these communities,” she said. Steyn pointed out that the SA government had not given the necessary support when it came to other natural disasters. “Communities such as those affected by the severe flooding of 2006 in the Langkloof are still waiting for assistance from the department of agriculture,” she said. “Others in North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo are also still waiting for relief after floods that occurred between December 2010 and February 2011.” Namibia, particularly the Northern parts of the country, is suffering from a severe drought described as the worst in three decades. Late May, President Hifikepunye Pohamba declared a state of emergency after the drought had already killed 4000 large and small stock.