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Cogta officially declares State of Disaster in KZN following deadly floods

Multiple cars are covered in debris at the Khokhoba informal settlement where residents of the settlement were seen digging for bodies that were allegedly caught under the rubble. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency (ANA)

Multiple cars are covered in debris at the Khokhoba informal settlement where residents of the settlement were seen digging for bodies that were allegedly caught under the rubble. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 13, 2022

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Durban - The floods experienced in KwaZulu-Natal have been classified as a provincial disaster.

That was announced by the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) on Wednesday night.

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Earlier, when President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the flood-stricken province to offer support to affected communities and assess the response of government and civil society to this critical situation, he announced that the floods experienced would be classified as a provincial disaster.

Hundreds of informal homes were damaged and washed away after a river overflowed during recent heavy rains and flooding. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Now it was inscribed in the Government Gazette published on April 13, 2022.

The gazette states that: β€œI, Dr Mmaphaka Tau, in my capacity as the head of the National Disaster Management Centre, after having deliberations with sector departments and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Disaster Management Centre, and after assessing the magnitude and severity of the impact of the severe weather events occurring in various municipal areas of the KZN province that resulted in the loss of life and damage to property, infrastructure and the environment caused by heavy rain, flooding, strong winds, landslides etc. and after having considered the information and recommendations received from the provincial Disaster Management Centre, hereby give notice that on 13 April 2022, in terms of Section 13(1)(b) of the Disaster Management Act, 20220 (Act No. 57 of 2002), I classified these occurrences as a provincial disaster,” Tau said.

Tau further stated that emanating from the classification of the occurrence as a provincial disaster, in terms of section 40 read with section 23(8) of the Act, the primary responsibility to co-ordinate and manage the disaster, in terms of existing legislation and contingency arrangements, is designated to the provincial executive.

β€œI hereby, in terms of Section 15(2)(aA) of the Act, read with section 23(8), call upon organs of state to further strengthen support to existing structures to implement contingency arrangements and ensure that measures are put in place to enable the KZN province to effectively deal with the effects of this disaster,” continued Tau.

He added that emanating from this classification, and the assistance provided by organs of state in terms of section 23(8) and sections 15(2)(aA) of the Act, organs of state are called upon to prepare and submit reports, as required by the National Disaster Management Centre and in the case of a declaration, report to the respective intergovernmental forums as outlined in section 24(4) - (8) of the Act.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa centred with Sihle Zikalala and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma visited Sokhela and Mkhize families affected by heavy rainfall and flooding after the church wall of United Methodist church fell on children, killing them, in Clermont outside Pinetown. Picture: Bongani Mbatha: African News Agency /ANA

On Tuesday, the DA in KZN had called on Premier Sihle Zikalala and Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka to immediately commence the process of having the province declared a state of disaster.

DA KZN Cogta spokesperson Martin Meyer said that while disaster management in the province was on high alert, it is regrettably no secret that many of KZN’s municipalities have limited resources and that disaster management in many towns was just not up to this latest challenge.

β€œGiven the current conditions, the DA urges the premier to recommend to the national disaster centre that KZN be declared a disaster zone,” Meyer had said.

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Later, the provincial government made a call of its own.

After receiving reports on the disaster incidents across the province, a decision was taken at an executive council meeting to request that the province be declared a disaster area.

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