Marizka Coetzer
2 minute read
10 Jun 2022
5:49 am

Government seemingly in no rush to get aid to flood victims

Marizka Coetzer

Co-chairs Cedric Frolick and Jomo Nyambi said the committee’s main concern was the wellbeing of the affected people, who required support from the government.

Family members assist with clearing debris for member of the police in efforts to locate 10 missing people in KwaNdengezi township outside Durban on 15 April 2022 after their homes were swept away during the KZN floods. Photo: Phill Magakoe / AFP

Weeks have passed since the floods hit KwaZulu-Natal and still not a cent of the flood relief fund has been released.

This week, the ad hoc joint committee on flood disaster relief and recovery heard that more than 4 300 households in five municipalities had been left homeless in the floods that hit KZN and parts of the Eastern Cape in April.

Committee spokesperson Faith Ndenze said the province needed at least R1 billion to provide 2 477 temporary shelters to the homeless and to fix the 1 841 damaged houses.

“The committee also heard more than 55 villages have been left without water supply and at least R30 million is required to repair the damaged water and sanitation systems,” she said.

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The committee was briefed by Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana on the state of funding for the flood disaster. The committee asked the minister why it was difficult for the affected municipalities to access the R1 billion in flood relief made available by government.

“Godongwana told the committee the National Treasury has not received … a formal application for funding,” Ndenze explained.

Co-chairs Cedric Frolick and Jomo Nyambi said the committee’s main concern was the wellbeing of the affected people, who required support from the government.

They said the misunderstanding between the three spheres of government, national government, provincial government and municipalities, on this matter was delaying the provision of services. Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the KZN Legislature Francois Rodgers called for a National Treasury task team to be urgently deployed to the province to assist with the documentation needed to access the aid.

“It is almost two months since the first floods, yet not a cent in relief funding has arrived. This while national and provincial treasuries squabble about supposedly inaccurate paperwork.”

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Rodgers said it was unacceptable that neither was recognising the urgency of the situation and acknowledging the misery of so many people affected by the floods.

“That it cannot even get the required documents in order is a sign of gross incompetence and further evidence of a failed state.”

He said this week flood victims had gathered at City Hall in Durban to air their grievances and were allegedly chased away with pepper spray and rubber bullets.

“The plight of KZN’s people is worsening by the day. The question is, what kind of government does this to its people?”

Sune Horn, from Gillitts, Everton, said it had taken two months to get rid of the mud from her home. She was fortunate to have house insurance but claiming damages for the last flood was a lengthy process.