KZN still waiting for Treasury to cough up R1 billion flood relief funds

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KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is still waiting on government to disburse the disaster relief funds a month after floods hit the province.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, now former KZN Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC, Sipho Hlomuka said the province was still in talks with Treasury on the R1 billion that has been allocated as relief.

“We are told that R1 billion has been allocated to KZN, we have not yet received that money, but we are working with National Treasury and provincial treasury on the processes that need to be followed so that the money is allocated to relevant sector departments to municipalities,” Hlomuka said.

ALSO READ: ‘I still don’t believe’: KZN flood survivor mourns losing 10 family members in landslide

Hlomuka said provincial departments had reprioritised their budgets following the floods.

“We will be guided by the national government, but I am aware that we need to reprioritise our budget as well to talk to the disaster. All departments affected by this disaster, they need to reprioritise the budget to speak to the disaster,” the former MEC said.

Last week, KZN premier Sihle Zikalala announced his budget for the 2022-2023 financial year.

He further indicated that there was R25 billion in damages to both public and private infrastructure across the province, but noted that assessments were still ongoing.

Hlomuka on Thursday was announced as the new deputy director-general of the local government support and interventions management at national Department of Cogta.

State of Disaster

Floodwaters have hit parts of KZN early in April, affecting more than 75,000 people and leaving 435 dead.

The eThekwini metro had the most deaths (386) in the province, while 48 people are still unaccounted for as of 11 May.

More than 19,000 households were affected by the floods, which saw the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) being deployed to provide assistance to affected communities.

Government has since declared a national state of disaster to respond to the deluge in KZN.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Cabinet’s decision for the declaration following a request from the provincial government.

READ MORE: National State of Disaster will ensure ‘effective response’

According to Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the national state of disaster is likely to last for up to three months.

Dlamini-Zuma, however, also suggested that the Disaster Management Act was likely to be extended to deal with the devastating floods due to the extensive damage to businesses, roads, bridges and water, electricity, rail and telecommunication infrastructure.

The minister, who leads the national intervention on the severe weather events, said the declaration of the state of disaster would enable government to coordinate and integrate its response efforts and rebuilding programmes.

Meanwhile, Parliament has indicated that it will establish an ad hoc committee on the floods.

The KZN government has also set up an account for donations towards disaster relief, with Dr Patrice Motsepe donating R30 million.

Source: citizen