Good Day to you all!
We address you following a brief visit today to some of the areas that have been affected by the recent floods.
We started on the N2 in Umgababa which has been diverted between Umkhomazi and Umgababa in order to allow for repair to infrastructure.
As a result of this diversion traffic has been redirected to the R102 along the Indian Ocean and sometimes, redirected past Magabeni Township.
The diversion has no doubt caused massive inconvenience to motorists and local communities alike and placed added pressure on routes that were not originally designed to carry heavy traffic loads.
What may be the consequence of a disaster is that the very alternative temporary routes may be heavily affected themselves over time.
UPDATE ON THE SITE VISITS
We conducted a site visit to the Durban South Water Aqueduct and ended with a clean-up campaign to the Rossburgh Testing and Licensing Centre.
The purpose of these visits has been to assess progress being made in returning critical infrastructure of our province back to normal. This is party of oversight and monitoring being carried out by Members of the Executive Council together with MPLs, Mayors and Councillors thorough the province. These leaders are being joined by NGOs, the Faith Based Community, Representatives of Business and Labour and Leaders of all political parties who have taken it upon themselves to make the pain of the people of KwaZulu-Natal at this time, their own pain.
We can report that the N2 in Umkhomazi and Umgababa SANRAL has commenced with temporary construction of a detour which will be within the N2 space. This will allow flow of traffic from the south to the north which has been blocked since the flood incidence. SANRAL estimates that the construction of the detour will be complete by this coming Friday. This will soon be followed by the permanent construction of the damaged roads which SANRAL will pronounce on shortly. This work is led by a local contractor.
The teams are working day and night to ensure that a project that would otherwise take months will be completed in a matter of weeks.
As we continue with the task of rebuilding our province we can say with certainty that most of road access is now open, traffic is flowing. While there are still delays, this is temporary as our teams do their best to return us to normality.
While water and electricity has been restored in many areas, some localities in both urban areas and rural areas are still experiencing irregular or no running water.
Water provision continues to improve although areas such as Nagina, Clarewater, Ntshongweni, Ntshangwe and Zwelibomvu are still without water.
However, we are pleased that the repairs on the south coast pipeline have been completed people will now be able to provide water in most areas in the south up to Umkhomazi. Our teams have worked throughout the night to finalise repairs on the pipeline that supplies water to Prince Mshiyeni Hospital and surrounding areas. Our teams have assured us that this pipeline will be able to supply water the end of business today.
Government is attending to all service delivery complaints that are being reported and we urge community members to be patient and desist from blockading roads as this delays the full restoration of services.
With regards to electricity, over the past few days, eThekwini Municipality was able to reconnect power to numerous areas, thanks to technicians who in the aftermath of the floods, have been working unceasingly.
Power has been fully restored in the following areas:
Amanzimtoti, Prospecton, Doonside, uMlazi H and G sections, Chatsworth, Southway Mall, Illovu, KwaMakhutha, Folweni, Mbumbulu, Merebank, Lamontville, Glebelands Hostel, Philani Valley, Mavern, Hillary, Fynnlands, Woodhurst, Kharwastan and Seaview.
Power has also been restored to uMlazi Mega City. All that remains now is for various businesses in that area to indicate to our teams when to energise their businesses so that this is done safely.
Hazelmere, Phoenix Clayfied/Northcroft, oThongathi, Phoenix Industrial, Reservoir Hills, Ntuzuma, Verulam CBD, Moreland Industrial, Phoenix Industrial, Avoca Hills, Seacow Lake, Trenance Park, Inanda Newtown, Effingham, Redhill, Mt Morelands, Amatikwe, Tea Estates, KwaMashu A, L, and J sections, Parkgate, Amaoti and Amatikwe.
Morningside, Glenwood, Umbilo, Westmead, Sydenham, Springfield, Botanic, Clare Estate, Westville and Cato Manor.
Pinetown CBD, Kloof, Highland Hills, KwaDabeka, Mpola, Crestholme, Forest Hills, The Wolds, Hillcrest, and Clermont.
Teams continue to work tirelessly to restore power in other areas as well. The City appeals to the public still facing power outages, to be patient.
PROVIDING TEMPORARY SHELTER
Throughout our districts and eThekwini we are clearing temporary shelters such as halls and other government building as we return communities to their homes or Temporary Residential Units. Those who move to the TRUs may not be back home, but in the TRUs they will find the privacy and dignity that comes with having your own space.
Regarding Human Settlements, we wish to report that the construction of Residential Temporary Units has started. Constructors are on site in Ilembe District in ward 11 and 12 KwaSonkombo, Ugu at Malangeni under uMdoni and at Ray Nkonyeni, Nquthu and eThekwini (Emachobeni in Inanda, Molweni) – having started on Friday in line with the commitment we made. We are finalizing the assessment of some sites in Durban in terms of their suitability for construction.
We must hasten to point out that this is a moving target. We are updating this information as more information is collated through Operation Sukuma Sakhe structures and our Disaster Management centres.
As we continue with the construction of TRUs, our focus is to accommodate more than 4 396 families that are accommodated in halls, churches, schools. We are also paying special attention to those accommodated by neighbours and relatives.
We are encouraged by the support we are getting from the national government. An integrated approach involving three spheres of government is assisting to ensure speed and efficiency in the interventions.
Although government has reprioritized R1 billion towards disaster relief interventions, we need more than R1, 9 billion to complete our work.
UPDATE ON THE NUMBER OF VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS
Ladies and Gentlemen this disaster has cost lives, taken away bread winners and wiped out entire families while destabilizing communities.
We must again give hope to the hopeless and in the process rebuild our communities on the basis of trust and a renewed commitment to a better future and a better KwaZulu-Natal.
To date, the Search & Rescue Teams have attended to 542 calls and recovered 62 bodies and rescued 164 people. 63 reported bodies still unaccounted for /missing.
As of today 19113 households have been affected by the disaster wherein 128743 people were affected.
Sadly, 435 people lost their lives and to date 63 are still reported missing.
A total of 6814 people are currently homeless as a result of this disaster.
UPDATE ON DEATHS AND FUNERALS
So far 364 bodies have been identified, 412 autopsies conducted and a total 364 bodies have been released.
The Department of Social Development, SASSA and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs are continuing with profiling, provision of psychosocial services and provision of food vouchers.
The Premier, MECs and Local Government leaders attended various burial services over the last few days and further deployment plan will be done.
In this regard we are pleased to highlight the support of the Motsepe Foundation in processing 59 out of 85 claims received with money already paid to various funeral service providers.
In this regard we would like to express our appreciation that the KwaDukuza Municipality has indicated that they have already waived burial site costs for all the flood victims in their district.
Further to this, KwaDukuza has paid R15 000 to support the burial of each of the 13 deceased who were from their municipality as per their policy.
We wish to take the opportunity to express our appreciation to Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa for his leadership of the Technical Committee which comprises religious and faith-based leaders.
The Technical Team has representatives from eThekwini municipality and the Premier’s Office and includes a representative deployed by his Majesty King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini.
We are also pleased that Dr Patrice Motsepe and Dr Precious Moloi- Motsepe have found time to be part of the meetings held to date.
Provincial Government to provide groceries for the affected families through up to the day of the funeral.
We are engaging municipalities to waive the grave site costs for all affected families.
The approach we are taking in seeking to rebuild KwaZulu-Natal after these floods is that we want projects to be completed in record time and we are pleased that the contractors and the workers are playing their part in this regard.
We do this as we pay our tribute to those who have fallen in this disaster and the survivors who have lived to tell the story.
We offer our condolences to those who have suffered such personal and immeasurable losses and have undergone these traumatic experiences.
We can promise all the people of this province that in their honour we will never rest until we have returned the situation to normal. Our province will rise again.
God Bless the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
I Thank You