Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the government plans to keep its latest national state of disaster in place for a period of at least three months to assist those impacted by the heavy flooding in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape.
Briefing media on Tuesday (19 April) Dlamini-Zuma said it was necessary to introduce a state of disaster due to the magnitude and severity of the damage caused by the severe weather events and it will assist with the coordination and integration of the government’s response efforts and rebuilding programmes.
“The benefits of reclassifying the provincial disaster as a national disaster include that the primary responsibility to coordinate and manage the disaster is assigned to the national sphere of government.
“The declaration of a national disaster also strengthens the commitment of National Government departments to fulfil its role in providing relief, recovery and rehabilitation to affected communities.
“The declaration signals that government as a whole intends to deal with the impact of the severe weather on KZN and other provinces in an even more holistic manner through an integrated and coordinated approach across the spheres of government and employing the District Development Model.”
The floods have resulted in untold suffering and misery with about 4,000 homes destroyed, almost 9,000 homes partially damaged and more than 40,000 people left homeless or displaced, Dlamini-Zuma said.
She added that the Disaster Management Act is likely to be extended due to the extent of damage to infrastructure.
“The Disaster Management Act allows up to three months and if it needs to be terminated early, it can be terminated early. But it still allows for an extension if there is still a need for it. An assessment will be made whether it’s extended or not,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
South Africa lifted its most recent state of disaster on 5 April after it being in place for more than two years
Read: South Africa seeks extra funds to rebuild after flood havoc