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An inspection by KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala on Monday revealed some of the devastation of the weekend's rains which washed away roads and homes in parts of the province. Picture: SUPPLIED
An inspection by KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala on Monday revealed some of the devastation of the weekend's rains which washed away roads and homes in parts of the province. Picture: SUPPLIED

Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele has confirmed that provincial departments have to use their own budgets in response to April’s flood disaster in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

The R1bn President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in declaring a national state of disaster was a contingency fund to be accessed when provincial infrastructure budget allocations for disaster have run out. The R1bn package was also announced by finance minister Enoch Godongwana, according to media reports.

“I know undoubtedly that the minister of finance has said there is a R1bn contingency fund which is in the coffers of [the National] Treasury. This is a fact. This is not a theory or anything,” said Gungubele on Monday.

“But the minister would have said, infrastructure departments, whenever there is a budget allocation to them, there is a portion for contingency situations, for disaster. Once that is done and finished they are expected therefore to access the R1bn.”

Gungubele was addressing a meeting of parliament’s ad hoc committee on flood disaster relief and recovery.

Provincial departments were expected to provide phase one relief, which mainly involves provision of immediate humanitarian relief which includes public communication and information dissemination, search and rescue or recovery, burial assistance, death certificates, post mortems, health services, psychosocial support, temporary shelter, food, personal essentials and emergency water supply, he said.

The KwaZulu-Natal government was assisting the national government in assessing the full costs of dealing with the effects of the disaster, he said. “Already no less than R25bn is a provisional assessment.”

This would cover the government’s medium- and long-term response to the crisis.

“We don’t want to confuse these issues — R1bn for immediate intervention is there once infrastructure departments have actually used what is traditionally allocated to them, they have to access that,” he said.

The Sunday Times reported that the two provinces were asked to reprioritise their budgets — using money that would be refunded when the National Treasury approved their applications to access disaster grants.

The newspaper reported that Godongwana’s comments last month, which were later repeated by Ramaphosa, created the impression that the Treasury would allocate additional funds to help the provinces recover from the flood damage.

At least one body has been recovered after heavy rain hit KwaZulu-Natal for the second time in two months at the weekend. The body was recovered in Inanda and the areas most affected by the floods were north and south of Durban.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala visited Umdloti, north of Durban, on Monday where he assessed damage caused by the weekend floods. He was accompanied by transport MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka and eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.

“We know there are some people who are still living in temporary shelters. That’s why the department of human settlement is with us to ensure that those people are properly housed,” Zikalala said.

Major roads were damaged, including the M4, which was closed after the April floods. He said the department would ensure the road between La Mercy and Seatides is reopened by Tuesday.

The department of transport would handle the rehabilitation of the road. It would also focus on the Umdloti-La Mercy bridge. A damaged bridge between Tongaat and Zimbali was likely to take up to six months to repair.

Many property owners were affected in the Bluff, south of Durban.

“Fortunately, Toyota and other companies were left untouched. We [are] saying fortunately, because they sustained severe damages [in the earlier flooding] which will cost a huge money to repair,” Zikalala said.


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