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R16.2m social relief of distress vouchers issued to KZN flood victims

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu

Published Jul 4, 2022

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Cape Town - Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has issued 9 520 social relief of distress vouchers to the tune of R16 264 216 million for the victims of KwaZulu-Natal floods.

In a reply to parliamentary questions from DS MP Bridget Masango, Zulu said Sassa has not disbursed any food parcels as it has relied solely on the use of vouchers for the purposes of providing social relief of distress.

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“This enables the agency to provide relief in a much more timely manner, and also enables the recipients to select their own relief items from the voucher,” she said.

Zulu said Sassa also provided meals to 40 600 beneficiaries at 72 shelters across the province.

The minister said one Sassa local office in Chatsworth was damaged by the floods that services approximately 140 beneficiaries per day.

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“Due to the minimal damage no services at SASSA offices were severely compromised and services to grant applicants are continuing as normal,” she said, adding that this had a temporary effect on daily operations.

Zulu said the provincial Department of Public Works estimated the costs for repairing the roof at R 17.5 million.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s ad hoc joint committee on flood disaster relief and recovery said at the weekend it was satisfied with the clarification made on the R1 billion that was made available for the disaster.

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Co-chairpersons Cedric Frolick and Jomo Nyambi said the National Treasury clarified that the money was available, but there was a challenge with the application process.

“The committee was also pleased with the clarification that the main challenge for National Treasury is the lack of coordination between the various spheres of government when applying for the funding,” Frolick and Nyambi said.

The pair made the comment after the committee held a meeting with Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele, ministries, departments and provincial governments on Friday.

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Frolick and Nyambi said the National Treasury briefed the committee about the grants it has allocated thus far.

“National Treasury informed the committee that it has approved R87.4 million provincial and municipal disaster response grants to six municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.

“It has also approved R325.8 million in provincial emergency housing grant in KwaZulu-Natal and R16.6 million in municipal emergency housing grant for Alfred Nzo Municipality to fund the provision of temporary shelters for 258 destitute households.”

The Eastern Cape-based municipality was transferred R8.3 million and it will be required to spend at least 80% of the amount before the second tranche can be disbursed.

Frolick and Nyambi also said the committee was also informed that approved reprioritisation of conditional grants included for immediate response included R65 million for water services infrastructure for hiring of water tankering in eThekwini metro as well as Ugu and iLembe district municipalities.

R41.3 million was also approved for the reprioritisation of the municipal infrastructure grant in KwaZulu-Natal.

Other initiatives to provide immediate relief funding include R189 million for an Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant to KwaZulu-Natal, R105.7 million in Human Settlements Development conditional grant payments to the Eastern Cape and R733 million in Human Settlements Development conditional grant payments to KwaZulu-Natal KZN.

Frolick and Nyambi said the committee has asked all three spheres of government to provide metrics of how the government is responding to the disaster on all levels to mitigate silos' approach to the work, which has contributed to the confusion on funding.

They said the committee planned to finalise its preliminary report to assist in the challenges it observed after it visited all three affected provinces.

“After the finalisation and tabling of the preliminary report, the committee will then request progress reports from the affected provinces to ascertain their response to the disaster after the committee’s intervention.

“Thereafter, the committee will also invite the Auditor-General to present reports on the special audit it is conducting on the flood disaster. That information will form part of the committee’s final report,” Frolick and Nyambi said.

Cape Times

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