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Kunene reaps from SA drought package

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Windhoek

With the persistent drought experienced countrywide the Kunene, as the worst affected region, has been allocated a large chunk of the N$100 million drought relief donation from the South African government.

The N$100 million relief package for Namibia was announced by President Jacob Zuma during his two-day state visit in November 2013. He said the money would be used to procure maize meal for communities most affected by the drought of 2013.

The spokesperson in the Office of the Prime Minister, Saima Shaanika, told New Era in an interview that the South African government has so far delivered 600 000 bags of maize meal to Namibia as part of the drought relief measure.

The first consignment of 20 metric tons of dried beans, valued at N$386 000, was delivered late last year and was received by the Disaster Risk Management Department in the Office of the Prime Minister for distribution to affected communities. Shaanika said the beans were distributed to Kunene Region in December.

Other regions, she noted, already received relish in the form of tinned fish and fresh meat. She said the N$100 million was divided into two tranches – N$50 million was budgeted for food but does not include animal feed. The amount would cover maize seed, maize meal and beans.

The other N$50 million is for drilling new boreholes. Shaanika said all the regions are earmarked to benefit from such assistance. Receiving the first consignment was South African High Commissioner, Yvette Myakayaka-Manzini, who said eight trucks were still expected to deliver non-genetically modified (non-GMO) food such as maize and peas (both to eat and plant). When asked why the donation only arrived after the 2013 drought had already left many Namibians severely affected, the South African high commissioner had said that procedures needed to be followed.

“The pledge of N$100 million had to undergo various processes. We work according to a budget and we had to report to parliament and cabinet for approval before we took it to our sister country and neighbour, Namibia – all these processes had to be undertaken,” she noted.

Myakayaka-Manzini, who revealed that the money donated came from a fund called The African Renascence, which is approved by the South African parliament every year, has assisted many African countries faced with crises.

Myakayaka-Manzini said a technical team from the South African Water Affairs Department would be in charge of the rehabilitation of boreholes, but at the same time locals would be involved in order to transfer skills to Namibians to maintain the boreholes once the South Africans left. It is expected that about 101 boreholes will be rehabilitated in five regions.

Before the South African government released the money, Myakayaka-Manzini said they first consulted the Namibian government to identify the modalities of spending the donation, which according to some had agitated Namibians who said the promised donantion had outlived its original purpose.

The South African government approved the multi-million dollar budget allocation in October 2014.