The drought relief scheme in the Northern Cape Province (2013/2014) : an analysis of the intergovernmental communication approach
Tsepe, Nthonoki Cynthia
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The main objective of this study was to assess whether poor or lack thereof of intergovernmental communication contributed to the delay of the implementation of the 2013/2014-drought relief scheme in the Northern Cape Province, in order to recommend mechanisms for effective implementation of future drought relief schemes in the province. Droughts are the result of reduced amounts of rain received in an area over a long period of time. For the purpose of this study, agricultural drought received attention. Agricultural drought focuses on soil water shortage, reduction of ground water, reservoirs water needed for irrigation systems and lack of rain. Agricultural droughts have impacts of reducing agricultural production to an extent that the livelihoods of the farming communities are threatened. Drought impacts often result in direct and indirect impacts. Direct impacts involve reduced forests and crop production, decreased water levels and increase the livestock mortality rate. Furthermore the direct impacts create indirect impacts that affect the community. Indirect impacts include lower income for farmers, labour associated with agricultural production decreases and an increase in food prices and unemployment as a result of reduced crop production. Effective response and recovery operations require collaborations and trust between government departments at all levels. Effective communication amongst government departments is an essential prerequisite for actions on problems that affect those departments. This includes problems such as where decisions are made amongst departments and where actions must be taken across departmental boundaries. In this study intergovernmental communication is viewed as the process through which a department sends a message across a channel to another part of the department or to another department in the network. The study focused on all government departments (local, provincial and national) that were involved as role-players during the implementation of the drought relief scheme. The study used face-to-face and telephonic interviews to collect qualitative primary data. Furthermore this was complemented by the screening of available documentation and reports. Secondary data sources included reviews of published reports, books, journals and academic dissertation to identify the existing knowledge on drought as well as intergovernmental communication. Empirical findings were concluded from the interviews. The analysis revealed that drought relief scheme implementation was characterised by a myriad of challenges. One of the main challenges was the confusion regarding the process to be followed for the declaration of the state of disaster. Furthermore, poor or lack of communication and coordination between all the relevant role-players exacerbated this problem. The study recommends a review of the reporting structure between the local, provincial and national role players during the implementation of relief schemes as this has shown to be complicated.