NATIONAL – Government has made R433.524 million available from the disaster grants for immediate drought disaster relief funding for the three-most affected provinces. The funds have been allocated to the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape provinces over the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years. Making the announcement on Thursday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize said the approval and transfer of these funds is based on the conditions for the Municipal Provincial Disaster Grants, as stipulated in the applicable Grant Framework. The funds were transferred to the recipients on 19 March 2018, except for the remaining funds for the agriculture sector in Northern Cape which will be transferred in two separate installments during the 2018/19 financial year, based on the conditions on the ground, as well as progress on the implementation of relief measures within affected communities. Minister Mkhize urged the grant recipients, which are provinces including relevant departments and municipalities, to implement the drought relief projects swiftly without any delays. The focus should be on the quality of the work done, value for money and accountability on the utilisation of public funds, through the guidance of relevant provincial treasuries. Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service will continue to monitor weather forecasts in order for the country to make informed decisions, particularly regarding disaster risk reduction. “We caution all people in South Africa, whether citizens or visitors, even though some parts of the country are receiving rains and others even experiencing flash flooding, it is important to note that we are not out of the woods yet with regard to drought conditions. “South Africa may be experiencing drought conditions in some parts but it remains one of the most exciting tourist destinations in the world. We call on tourists to continue visiting South Africa and experience all that our beautiful country has to offer,” Minister Mkhize said. He said communities should protect water resources and infrastructure as well as report criminal acts to the relevant authorities.