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MPs receive detailed update on KZN, North West and Eastern Cape flood disaster interventions

In April President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged R1bn for disaster relief in KwaZulu-Natal. Departments were later told that they need to reprioritise their budgets as there was no new money coming from the National Treasury.
In April President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged R1bn for disaster relief in KwaZulu-Natal. Departments were later told that they need to reprioritise their budgets as there was no new money coming from the National Treasury.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Parliament's ad hoc joint committee on flood and disaster relief and recovery has received detailed reports on how the departments are assisting affected provinces.

The committee received an update from the National Treasury, departments of human settlements, public works, water and sanitation and co-operative governance on their intervention in KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Eastern Cape.

Public works and infrastructure deputy director-general Chris Lombard said his department has identified a number of state-owned buildings that have been damaged.

“We’ve also identified land parcels for resettlement and we have undertaken scientific research in terms of our land parcels on where they are situated in terms of flood lines which is important for the future response of any department so that we never have this happening again.”

Work is also being done to rebuild bridges, said Lombard.

“In KwaZulu-Natal, there are 23 bridges that are planned for construction and 18 bridges in the Eastern Cape.”

Most of emergency work in KwaZulu-Natal is about 90% complete.

Acting head of the national disaster management centre Ane Bruwer said several task teams are providing the centre with weekly reports on humanitarian relief and infrastructure work.

In KwaZulu-Natal, 27,069 households have been affected while there were 4,317 in the Eastern Cape. 

There were 99 shelters in KwaZulu-Natal where victims were housed.

“There is also burial support to the affected families. To date documents have been received from families in respect of 132 deceased people. So far 35 applicants have been approved and paid by the Motsepe Foundation,” Bruwer said.

“In North West there were shelters but all the evacuees that were accommodated at shelters have gone back to their respective homes and in the Northern Cape, an action plan has been established for the Tsantsabane Local Municipality on the repairing of damaged roofs and gravelling of roads.”

On short-term interventions, Bruwer said in eThekwini 3,385 families were in shelters, while there were 215 in KwaDukuza, 16 in Ugu and six in uMgungundlovu. A total of 385 temporary residential units have been completed to date.

In terms of human settlements, Bruwer said there had been applications for assistance. “Of the estimated R2.1bn required to fund the disaster, an amount of R515m was made available through reprioritisation. There is a shortfall of R1.6bn ...”

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There were 356 schools that were flooded which only needed deep cleaning.

“There has been progress in various regions in terms of water supply in eThekwini. In the inner west region it’s about 90% complete, in the outer west it improved from 30% to 80%. In the central region it improved from 45% to 70%.”

Most of the water services have been restored but sanitation services are lagging behind.  

The KwaZulu-Natal department of transport suffered infrastructure damage (including the M4 and R102 roads) as a result of the recent floods amounting to R5.7bn.

She said 457 businesses have applied for economic assistance, the majority from KwaZulu-Natal. The total value of the applications is R224m with over half of the businesses owned by women.

A total of R6.7bn has already been allocated to deal with the disaster.

KwaZulu-Natal human settlements head of department Mdu Zungu said budgets had to be reprioritised to deal with the disaster.

“What we did in April is that we utilised the money that we have instead of waiting for the disaster money because disaster funding takes about 18 months to come through.”

Zungu said the department was in the process of acquiring land to accommodate those who are in community centres.

Deputy minister of water and sanitation David Mahlobo told MPs: “The supply and availability of water was one of the biggest challenges. As a department we had a serious challenge with bulk infrastructure,” said Mahlobo.  

He said a war room was created which has been reporting to the national disaster centre.

“Their main task was to ensure that people are given water as a matter of urgency.”

Inasmuch as the assurance of water supply has improved, Mahlobo said there are areas that still do not have water because the bulk infrastructure has collapsed or has been washed away.

TimesLIVE

 


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