Mixed views on Budget allocation for drought

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Residents in Bloemfontein have welcomed Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan’s announcement that a billion rand of the budget will go towards assisting drought relief. The drought has affected the productivity of farms across the Free State, as well as causing water shortages in many towns and rural areas.

The money will go towards water provision‚ agriculture support‚ as well as the provision of transport and feed for livestock. “If you look in general in our country, North West and Free State where mostly affected. Me as a farmer, I also got affected. So I think it’s going to help but it also boils down to people on the ground. We must go back to what we used to do. We must start ploughing, if we can plough we will also be able to help, we don’t have to depend on the government,” says one resident.

“That money will work for building dams, for storage water, that we have enough food to feed our cattle, then we make enough storage for drought times when it comes again,” says another.

The province is also one of those worst hit by the drought

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Economic Analyst Lumkile Monti says he is concerned that Minister Gordhan’s budget speech did not elaborate enough on drought plans and empowerment in the agricultural sector.

The province is also one of those worst hit by the drought. “I think what is important in the budget is the tax burden being imposed on the middle class. It’s coming through in the cost of food because of the drought condition facing the country. We expected the minister of finance to also declare a national disaster on Agricultural sector and hereby provide support particularly to reduce the burden of debt on the farmers and to recent technology, therefore that’s a very disappointment,” says Monti.

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