Durban - Five teams from the KwaZulu-Natal legislature oversight committee met some of the flood victims on Thursday in eThekwini Municipality, to hear about the nature of assistance they have received thus far, and what they still required.
On Friday, the teams will be in the Ilembe, Umgungundlovu, Ugu, uThukela and King Cetshwayo district municipalities.
The intention of the visits is to ensure that interventions undertaken by different spheres of government are monitored, said KZN legislature speaker Nontembeko Boyce, speaking at a Provincial Day of Prayer held in Durban on Thursday.
Provincial religious leaders held the prayer day to show solidarity with bereaved families and pray for those who lost their lives in the disaster, as well as for an end to such tragedies in KZN.
Boyce said that, in a week, the province resembled a wasteland and that in the blink of an eye children became orphans and families became homeless.
She said years of hard work, dreams, dedication, passion and investment by individual families were gone.
“While this tragic situation is upon us, despondency is not an option. We might use proper words to console the families, but we must not be despondent.”
Boyce said she was reminded of the words of a 21-year-old woman from ward 16 in eThekwini, who lost her parents and siblings but remained grateful, saying “At least I saw them passing. I know that they are gone. I was there”.
Boyce said the KZN legislature would continue to assist in efforts to ensure that the province got off its knees and back on track.
“We are doing this to ensure we play our oversight role (to see) whether what is presented by government is actually taking place, and that no assistance is lacked in areas affected by the floods.”
eThekwini Municipality speaker Thabani Nyawose said the number of deaths continued to rise as search-and-rescue teams worked around the clock to find missing persons.
“We mourn and grieve together. There is great economic destruction. Infrastructure, like roads, electricity and water, has been damaged. We are a nation in mourning. We converge and unite in prayer,” he said.
Nyawose pleaded for people to unite and assist communities in need, adding that there was a tough road ahead.
“Rally behind flood victims, and lend a helping hand. Come together, pick up the pieces, and help affected communities to put the devastation behind them.
“Let us contribute to rebuild our city and province. This is a time to love and care,” Nyawose said.
A call for unity among those of all faiths and political parties was made. The regional director of the International Islamic Relief Organisation of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh El Saadi, said the government should introduce programmes to uplift the nation, “but instead we have a programme to create beggars”.
He quoted from the Qur’an, stating that “verily the almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, will never change the conditions of people until they change their own selves”.
“The grant of R350 will help the people, but it also makes them beggars. We need to skill people and for them to work hard and earn their living. Today, we want everything free from the government. ‘Government feed me, government give me house, government give me water’. What am I doing as a citizen to help myself and to help the country? This is a great problem … Why do we always blame foreigners because we are not skilling the people? We are not giving them the way, and by this we are turning away from God.”
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said people were still missing, and others were accommodated in temporary shelters.
He said there was nothing that could have been done by individuals or a collective to prevent the disaster.
“We are aware of climate change and the challenges it brings. We are also conscious that we still have to do a lot to fight pollution and environmental degradation,” he said.