Hon. Members of the Executive Council;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
May I take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt gratitude and to welcome all members of the Media who have joined us today to be part of this important media briefing.
Today’s briefing focuses on:
• Providing a comprehensive update on progress made in KwaZulu-Natal since the April and May 2022 flood disasters;
• We will also announce on latest decisions taken by the Executive Council on key issues in our province.
Progress Report on interventions and recovery since the flood disaster
Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been five months since the catastrophic flood disaster which cut a swathe of destruction in our province living unimaginable damage in its wake.
The Provincial Executive Council, at its meeting on Wednesday, conducted an assessment on progress being made in various areas.
We are all aware of the calamitous impact of the disasters on human lives, infrastructure and the displacement of people.
Relocation and Rehousing of People - Progress on Shelters and Temporary Residential Units
We commence this media briefing with a story of remarkable progress for the disaster victims especially those still housed in community care centres. Earlier today, we visited 47 families living at Truro Hall, which is being used as one of the care centers for flood victims.
Our purpose was to communicate to the families that as of today they will be moving to this dignified transitional accommodation, where each family will have a room of their own and enjoy their privacy.
This media briefing is coming from this 50room building that will from this week, become a new home for the families who lived in Truro Hall.
As we relocate these families here, earthworks and construction is underway a few kilometers down the road from here, where the Department of Human Settlement and Public Works is building 80 new state of the art three-story buildings that will become permanent homes for our citizens whose lives and livelihoods were devastated by the floods.
Today’s closure of the Truro Hall Community Care Center represents the progress we are making as government to help people rebuild their lives.
The Facility is a former Student Housing Complex and has:
50 lockable rooms with two or three beds each,
Perimeter Fence, security gate and Biometrics,
Kitchen with four 4 plate stoves,
Kids Homework area,
Ensuite and common bathroom,
The Department of Social Development will issue vouchers to the families during the course of the week to assist in procuring food items.
Government has put in place a practical plan to move people out of community care centres by the end of November 2022. To date we have reduced these centres from 135 to 80.
As was announced, the National Department of Human Settlements has since granted a total amount of R325 764 000-00 to the Provincial Department from the Provincial Emergency Housing Grant for the provision of Emergency Housing solutions.
This has enabled the Delivery of Temporary Residential Units (TRU) which to date stand at 1315 Units provincially.
Out of the 1315 TRU’s complete to date, 1202 have been occupied leaving a difference 113 that is not occupied.
We are delighted to report that all the remaining 80 Shelters have now been linked to land parcels, but these land parcels are at different stages of readiness.
We appreciate the approval of Rental Assistance Scheme and Temporary Residential Accommodations which will make us achieve the eradication of all Mass Care Centres.
The plan to get people out of community care centres going forward will entail the following:
8 land parcels (Including Cotton Lands are at site clearance stage (1064 TRUs); and
The acquisition of La Mercy Land is now at an advanced stage, with all the necessary approvals being secured and sale agreements being circulated.
The option of Temporary Emergency Accommodation where we do not build Lindelas, but house people temporarily as we are building their permanent accommodation, is a dramatic change in approach and testifies to the government commitment to improve the lives of our communities in distress.
We have established a specialised technical team led by the Director-General that will focus on the programme of getting people out of community care centres and all the mop up operations.
We have 19 buildings that we are looking at for Temporary Emergency Accommodation. These include former student accommodation, former hotels and state-owned properties etc. These facilities are currently not being used. They include Westpoint, Montclair, and Ntuzuma former KFC land and will give us 60 Temporary residential units.
The criteria is that we look for existing accommodation and consider if it is habitable, does it have basic services, water, electricity, sanitation, cooking facilities, laundry etc. We are doing 100 TRUs a week and six districts will as of today, complete their allocation of TRUs.
Progress on restoration of services
While services that were disrupted have been restored in many areas, we are still faced with the challenge of building back better, especially where infrastructure was completely washed away.
South Durban Basin
The reconstruction of roads and infrastructure especially in the Southern Basin which became a scene of major destruction following the collapse of the Shongweni Dam, is well under way. The damage in this part of the province impacted negatively on the economy and affected companies such as Toyota and Transnet.
Restoration of Water Supply
We are making progress in rebuilding the water schemes that were washed away. We are on course to get the construction work and to ensure the full restoration of water supply to the greater Othongathi by November 2022.
Sewer Networks and Pump Stations
Repairs are underway on sewer networks and sewer pump stations. It is intended that most of these repairs will be completed by the end of November 2022.
Update on those reported missing
With regard to unidentified bodies and the use of DNA to establish the identity and to find the families to effect closure, to date at least 27 cases are still unknown, of this, 12 profiles were generated but not identified.
So far, 5 cases have been positively linked with families, while 2 cases have returned a negative result, and will have to be reconducted.
We understand the frustration of the families about the pace on the DNA service, we are doing our best to get the DNA services completed timeously to enable families to find closure. This we are trying to do in the most human of ways possible.
Update on Disaster Funding
Ladies and Gentlemen the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) through the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) coordinates the submission of funding requests for emergency relief measures from organs of state that incurred damages due to flooding.To date the total amount of R406, 8m has been received by the affected municipalities to perform various works as follows:
R221, 8m Municipal Disaster Response Grant made up of:
• Ugu DM R2m
• Ray Nkonyeni R8, 1m + R11m
• uMsunduzi R620k
• Umkhambathini R8,2m
• iLembe R19,523m
• Inkosi Langalibalele R48,950m
• Alfred Duma R14,4m
• KwaDukuza R109,043m
The eThekwini Grant of R 185 087 026 has been approved and transferred to the Metro on 07 September 2022.
With reference to donor funding the Province opened a dedicated bank account for donations. Account number: 4103831039 with ABSA Bank. As at 2 September 2022, the account had R 7 650 279.58 an increase of R3 412 000.00from R4 235 603.24. The Provincial Flood Disaster Account has a balance of R7 650 279.58. We thank all those who have been able to come to the aid of those affected by the disaster. As determined by the donors some of this money will go towards the Department of Education and Health, while the remaining will be shared between the department of Social Development and Human Settlements.
This week the Executive Council approved that the month of October be dedicated as Transport Month. The Exco noted that the Transport Month will take place in a sombre mood as the province is still licking its wounds from the tragic road accidents that have claimed lives in the province recently such as the horrific uPhongolo truck accident. Exco resolved to use the Transport Month to ensure that road fatalities are eliminated. This will be done through multi-pronged operations, including sting operations, driver behaviour monitoring, addressing the truck concern on our roads, beefing up the road traffic inspectorate, maintaining and upgrading road infrastructure. The Exco has called on RTI and the municipal Traffic Department to adopt a zero tolerance approach on road traffic infringements and to ensure that our roads are safe.
To respond to high levels of food insecurity, land under-utilization and low productivity, the Executive Council has approved the commencement of the 2022 Multi-planting Season. Provincial Government will mobilise the citizens of the province to contribute in the planting of over 22 310 hectares across all districts. Through this programme, the province aims to provide support to KZN farmers, for an example in the:
- Supply of production inputs (fertilizer, seed and chemicals);
- Provision of mechanization services assistance with marketing of produce
- Presenting agriculture and organic farming as a viable option to the youth in terms of its economic
The long-term objective of the Multi Planting Season is to see communal farms and Agricultural co-operatives being able to enter the mainstream economy and to contribute to growing the KwaZulu-Natal economy.
The Executive Council deliberated and reflected on the crime statistics for the 1st quarter while expressing serious concerns about crime remaining stubborn in hotspots areas and the high numbers of contact crimes such as murder. The Executive Council expressed appreciation for the role played by our crime fighting institutions under the leadership of the SAPS and General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi. In order to resolve the crime problem more focus will be dedicated to multi-disciplinary crime prevention operations and collaboration with communities to address the problem of crime. More focused strategies will be implemented targeting the causal factors of crime. The province will also intensify the Safer Cities Programme in partnership with municipalities.
The Executive Council extended its condolences to the family of Mr Mthunzi Mathenjwa, who was the Chairperson and a Community Police Forum Member. Mr Mathenjwa was gunned down at his homestead. The Exco praised Mr Mathenjwa’s commitment and often going beyond the call of duty in building a safer KwaZulu-Natal. The Exco calls for swift action in apprehending the perpetrators and trust that the police working together with community will ensure justice is served in this case.
In conclusion, the province of KwaZulu-Natal, like the rest of the globe, is faced with the realities of Climate Change. When we see unusual weather, we must also know that we too have a role to play in alleviating the negative impact of the adverse climatic events.
As we deal with relocating and housing the victims, we will also rebuild our economy and use the opportunity to better the lives of all the people of our province. We are a people who have been sharpened at the anvil of fire, and we have come out battered but undefeated.
Let us all march forward together and grow KwaZulu-Natal together