May I take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt gratitude and welcome all members of the Media who have joined us this morning - those who are physically here with us, and those who are connecting via our social media platforms. We also welcome the millions of viewers and listeners from here in KwaZulu-Natal and the rest of the country who are also with us through the broadcasts being carried by various media.
This briefing follows the ordinary sitting of the KwaZulu-Natal Executive Council which was held yesterday on Wednesday 18 May 2022.
The Executive Council meeting was held in the midst of a number of developments in the province, chief among which is the effort to recover and rebuild from the devastation caused by the floods just over a month ago.
Among others the ExCo reflected on a number of issues and took the following decisions:
The passing of Gospel legend Debora Fraser and Inkosi Bantu David Khumalo in Amajuba District
The Provincial Executive Council has joined millions of South Africans in mourning following the passing of legendary Gospel icon Debora Fraser and Inkosi Khumalo of Amajuba District. Their passing will without doubt leave a big hole in the hearts of many of us. Debora Fraser nourished our souls through her music. She was a versatile patriot and believer in the ideals of a united South Africa hence through her music she brought diverse people together.
Inkosi Bantu Khumalo was a glue that held the community together and a peace ambassador. He was always collaborating and working with government to ensure development in the Amajuba District. The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has been assigned to work and support the Fraser family and give her a fitting send off. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will support the late Inkosi Khumalo’s family. On behalf of the people and government of KwaZulu-Natal we pay our sincerest condolences to the Fraser family and that of Inkosi Khumalo and Isizwe sakwaKhumalo. May Their Souls Rest in Perfect Peace.
KZN congratulates Richards Bay FC on gaining promotion to the ranks of PSL
The Executive Council on behalf of the people of KwaZulu-Natal congratulates Richards Bay FC (the Natal Rich Boys) on gaining promotion to the elite DSTV Premiership. The ExCo extends its best wishes to the players, management and staff for this monumental achievement and shining the bright spotlight on the talent that exists in our province. This achievement will inspire many of our young people and add more value to our sport tourism, social cohesion and economic upliftment of our province. We have no doubt that the Richards Bay FC will represent KwaZulu-Natal well and forever remain in the PSL.
Africa Day Celebrations!
The Executive Council noted and approved plans to host the 2022 AFRICA DAY event on 25 May to be held in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal marking the 59th anniversary since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity which later became African Union.
KZN braces for Severe Weather
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Provincial Government has received a severe weather warning notice from the South African Weather Services for the coming weekend. We are advised that if KwaZulu-Natal receives an additional 20mm of rain, there is a potential for flooding as the ground may still be saturated following the recent heavy rains. We have been advised to expect snowfalls and freezing temperatures. The ExCo will through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) under MEC Sipho Hlomuka put all our disaster teams on full alert. We urge our fellow citizens to be aware especially those who may be in flood-prone areas. Everyone must exercise extreme caution and we appeal to people to be careful as they use self-heating mechanisms including gas heaters etc. We have barely recovered from the recent floods and many areas and infrastructure are still vulnerable, and we need to do everything possible to avoid disasters in rapid succession.
Update on the recent flood disasters
Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been a month since the devastating floods occurred on the 11th April 2022. As a Province we are still undergoing unimaginable pain. The floods have unleashed havoc in our province and left an unthinkable path of destruction. We continue to express our condolences to the families, friends and relatives who have lost loved ones. We have never demobilised the searches for those who are still missing. Our local search and rescue work continue as we remain hopeful this will afford everyone final closure.
In this presentation we will cover the following areas:
• The substantial damage caused by the floods;
• The government response;
• The strategic and long-term rebuilding and reconstruction.
Current indications are that the floods have affected a total of 85280 people. A total of 448 fatalities are in terms of the final report confirmed to be the baseline official figure confirming the deceased. A total of 88 people are still reported missing with 6895 being homeless and 50 injured. A total of 27069 households were affected with 8584 houses totally destroyed and 13536 partially destroyed. Indeed, these floods are the worst in history and have unleashed the biggest humanitarian crisis and damage.
The cost of the flood damage to public infrastructure is officially estimated at R25 billion with loses mainly in roads, rail and bridges, housing, water, sanitation, electricity, Agriculture and Manufacturing. We still have the water service system still out of operation in areas such as Tongaat as they were seriously compromised by the floods.
The province has been able to process burial support of all the deceased through the support of the Motsepe Foundation and AVBOB. We have one body of an undocumented Mozambican National that is uncollected. We are in touch with the family through the Mozambican Embassy as part of our daily liaison with close contacts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is important that we cure the unfortunate selective amnesia especially among those who like to feast on the tragedy and suffering of fellow citizens. From the day the floods occurred, government has been on the frontline, activating and physically supporting our disaster operations. National government led by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, has been with us since those difficult days.
We were the first to evacuate school children, residents whose homes were flooded, bereaved families and to clear roads and thoroughfares. Even as our resources were overstretched, we ensured speedy interventions, seeing to it that no one is left behind in their hour of greatest need. We coordinated with other provinces, civil society and NGOs to respond to this disaster. We continue to do so even today as we lead the implementation of our three-phase response plan.
Immediate Humanitarian Relief
We have ensured that all affected persons are safe and that their basic needs are met daily. Currently the province has ninety-one (91) places that are being used as shelters (down from 102) to house 7297 displaced people. The government and social partners provide meals, food packs, blankets, hygiene and dignity packs, and psycho-social support services among others.
Stabilization and Recovery, Rehousing People and Restoration of Services
We have restored most of the services especially electricity and water and we are attending to the areas still experiencing challenges especially due to the fact that new infrastructure needs to be installed. We want to assure all the affected that we are working hard to return normality all water and sanitation systems. In the interim, we have increased the use of water tankers and are exploring all creative measures to restore all regular and normal supplies.
We must however acknowledge unfortunately that water supplies in many areas of our province have been affected by the floods including the quality in some areas. In this regard there will be ongoing water restrictions in all municipalities in varying quantities until we are back to normal. The areas most impacted by the poor river quality include the following: Amanzimnyama, Umbilo, Umkhumbane, Umgeni, Mlaas, Umhlathuzane, Isipingo, and Toti.
In Ethekwini alone, we had in excess of 100 power stations that were severely affected by the floods, leaving many parts of the city in darkness. To date all high voltage sub stations have been restored with some work still in progress on low and medium voltage faults. Power supply interruptions are being experienced in areas such as KwaNdengezi, Zwelibomvu and Marriannridge almost daily. This is caused by an electricity overload. The City has advised that work at the Mariannridge substation to resolve this problem is expected to be completed in the next two weeks.
There is substantial progress in restoring water supply in areas where infrastructure was severely damaged. In eThekwini where major disruption occurred, water supply has improved by 75-80% in most areas. There is still a challenge in some areas.
As stated, the floods severely damaged the water treatment plant in oThongathi. Major repairs in this area are expected to take a few months at an estimated cost of R30 million according to the eThekwini Metro engineers.
As an interim solution, the Municipality has intensified the provision of additional water tankers, and more static tanks will be added. There are also boreholes and package plants provided by NGOs and we appreciate their support.
The eThekwini Municipality is creatively reconfiguring the existing system and has constructed the emergency pipeline from Nyaninga Reservoir to Tongaat South Reservoir (located at Chelmsford Buffelsdale). The necessary tie-inns were completed on 16 May 2022.
Access to piped water supply is expected to be available from today, the 19th of May 2022 for the following areas that feed from the Tongaat South Reservoir, Watsonia, Buffelsdale, Mithanager, Trurolands, Gandhinagar, Chelmsford Heights, Part of Tongaat Central Business District.
The restoration of supply to oThongathi South areas was achievable due to the design nature of the reticulation system and the proximity of available existing water point. The Municipality further advises that supply to the oThongathi South areas will be intermittent as it must ration supply between these areas and the following areas feeding from Nyaninga Reservoir:
King Shaka International Airport;
Dube Tradeport Agrizone;
Mount Morelands; and,
The Municipality continues its plan to augment supply to more areas fed from the damaged Tongaat Water Treatment Works and will be reporting in due course on updates for the Hambanathi, Emona, Mamba Ridge and surrounding areas. Supply is still a challenge in the lower Molweni area and Wushwini due to road and water infrastructure being destroyed. About 188 water tankers within Ethekwini have been deployed as an interim measure, to supply water in all affected areas. We have also started to put static tanks and drill boreholes in some areas.
Supply to Ntuzuma and surrounding areas is also a challenge. The Municipality continues to balance supply in these areas by rationing. Major pipeline replacement work that will secure supply is due for completion by the week ending 20 May 2022: It will cover:
Inanda Newtown B;
Inanda Newtown C;
The plan for the permanent reconstruction of the oThongathi Water Treatment Works which is a permanent solution to the current challenge is well under way. The Municipality will give continuous updates in this regard.
IMPLEMENTATION OF IMMEDIATE RESPONSE BY HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
Service providers have been appointed for the construction of 1810 Temporary Residential Units across the province. To date 77 of these are complete, and progress is slowed by the suitability of land as rebuilding cannot take place in same where communities were flooded. Units are being constructed in Molweni, KwaMakhutha and Inanda. These will soon be handed over to beneficiaries.
In terms of land identification purposes, out of 64 Mass Care centres, 21 have been linked with a possible land parcel. At least 25 Land parcels from the National Department of Public Works and the provincial Department of Public Works have been identified totalling 49Ha. Detailed assessments currently underway on the 25 recommended properties.
The SANDF is implementing Bailey Bridges while the KZN DOT is leading a massive project called Valamapotholes (fixing potholes) working together with municipalities. While 630 schools were damaged, they have all been opened and are functioning following the floods with temporary mobile classes having been provided.
Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (Building Back Better).
KZN Economic Impact
Ladies and Gentlemen our province suffered three major setbacks within a short space of time: Covid-19, Social Unrest and April 2022 Floods.
According to a survey by the Department of Trade Industry and Competition at least 826 companies were affected and the cost of the damages to the companies is estimated at R7 billion. Recently President Cyril Ramaphosa, accompanied by key Ministers visited the province to engage with business on government’s response to the disaster.
The top three districts that had the biggest impact were eThekwini Municipality with 239 companies responding accounting for 50.6%, followed by iLembe with 87 companies accounting for 18.43% and Ugu District with 54 companies accounting for 11.44%. These floods have impacted 31220 jobs with eThekwini accounting for 68% of the jobs impacted.
The damage to Toyota has resulted in their temporary closure in the Durban South basin, an estimated 30,000 employees across the manufacturing industry are out of work currently. This means that employees could be without pay for approximately 3 months, given the severity of damage at Toyota South Africa. We are however very encouraged by the decision and the commitment of Toyota globally and other businesses to rebuild and build back better here in KwaZulu-Natal despite the setbacks and losses to business caused by the floods. Recovery Priorities include working with the private sector to ensure disaster-proof rebuilding process.
With regard to Port Operations these are being improved, but are being affected by the rest of the network in the province. Currently two lanes on Bayhead road are open and operational while the repairs to the Bayhead road is being carried out. Unfortunately, rail in the port area is damaged and will be back into operation in July 2022. There is consideration to open a new road along the railway line to ease movement of cargo. Electricity and water challenges around the port are affecting many companies and until there is progress on roads feeding into M7, we will be affected by costly delays in the Port of Durban.
We are however pleased to note that operations at King Shaka International Airport are back to full normal with the Dube Trade Port providing water tinkering by utilising its own equipment and sourcing water from their own dams. As a result the much-publicised water crisis at King Shaka, a strategic location especially for tourism sector, has now thankfully been resolved.
We are also implementing measures to assist Spaza shops in Townships and implementing tourism sector interventions and SMME relief for infrastructure. For this purpose, the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs is repurposing R67.5 million towards the SMME and Co-Ops Relief Fund as approved by Provincial Treasury. The Fund will prioritise Township and Rural Businesses, and Informal Traders in eThekwini Metro, Ilembe, King Cetshwayo and uGu Districts. In this regard ExCo has approved the application to National Treasury for the release of R1billion funding for immediate needs while awaiting the appropriation of the rest of the disaster funds. This is to cover the shelter support, human settlement interventions, water and sanitation interventions, roads and relief.
Gratitude to Disaster Teams and SANDF
We wish to thank all our patriotic disaster teams from across the provinces of South Africa led by the Premiers. We are grateful for your heroic acts of selflessness and sacrifice to support us in our greatest hour of difficulty and need. The South African Police Services, Military, Expanded Pubic Works Programme participants, Municipal employees continue to assist us as we work to rebuild, clean up and continue search and rescue operations.
The rebuilding effort will not be a government project alone but the collective response led by all sectors under the leadership of our caring government. It is going to be a long road to full recovery, yet those with ears can hear the thankful appreciation of millions - business, communities and many institutions who have felt government’s consoling and reassuring presence during this time.
Accounting for donor funds received
It will be recalled that the Province opened a dedicated bank account for donations under the Account number: 4103831039 with ABSA Bank. As at 15 May 2022 the account had R125 000.00. Of this amount R100 000.00 is specifically earmarked for the Department of Health. The balance of R25 000.00 will be used towards the rebuilding process. The bulk of donor funding has been sent directly to NGOs and can be accounted for by the NGOs. The Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Coordinating Office in South Africa will work with NGOs to ensure that citizens receive a report on who did what with the donations earmarked for the people affected by floods in KwaZulu-Natal. There were many announcements made by various corporate companies and all of us will need to account and be transparent about what we did and how the money earmarked for flood victims in KwaZulu-Natal in 2022 was spent. Who was assisted, where and what interventions?
In closing, work continues for the restoration of what has been destroyed, and to heal and rebuild together. We extend our gratitude to all the individuals, public and private institutions, business, the faith-based community, traditional leaders, NGOs, donors as well as local and international diplomats who have assisted our province in its time of need.
The initial application has been submitted to national government to assess the first tranche of funding. As this happens work to restore services has continued by various institutions from their baseline budgets. The situation has improved, and is better than on that fateful day of the 11 April 2022 because of the work led by government.
I wish to reiterate once again that as we said when this disaster tested us. This is a time to pull together and address the challenges in the interest of all those affected by the floods. Now is not a time for political grandstanding and divisiveness. We will weather this storm not by taking advantage of the plight of our vulnerable communities or by oversimplifying a difficult challenge we must overcome. Neither should we allow laziness and incompetence to prolong the suffering of our citizens. We will not allow failures and incompetence to be explained but we will not use lies to achieve political capital at the expense of our people. When we pull together, we will weather any storm.
Let us harness this great spirit of collaboration and work together to rebuild our beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal back to its glory for the benefit of all her people.
I Thank You