KZN government offers flood relief packages to Margate businesses

Wimpy was nearly washed away into the sea by the storm. | Supplied

Wimpy was nearly washed away into the sea by the storm. | Supplied

Published Apr 17, 2024


Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma has promised to assist small businesses that were affected by the devastating floods in Margate town on the south coast.

Accompanied by the Ugu District and Ray Nkonyeni Municipality officials, Duma visited the town on Tuesday to see for himself the trail of destruction that was left by the floods in the area. The MEC announced that his department will roll out flood relief packages to assist informal traders and hawkers who have been displaced and lost a source of income as well as interventions to assist businesses affected by the destruction of socio-economic infrastructure such as roads.

The MEC also announced that his department will work with the municipality to accelerate interventions at Margate Airport, which was also flooded, adding he was disturbed to see that the airport was also flooded since his department had recently injected R11 million to upgrade the airport.

Left in front: Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality mayor Zodwa Mzindle, MEC Siboniso Duma ( with a white shirt) assessing the storm damage in one of the businesses in Margate. | Supplied.

“As we speed up relief interventions, we continue to communicate the message that climate change is the biggest threat to human development. It is becoming the defining challenge for the 21st century. Unfortunately, the gains we have made in our quest to ensure economic recovery and the growth of tourism are threatened by recurring storms and floods. Climate change is affecting almost every sector of the economy in this province,” said Duma.

Duma also told business people that he was in constant communication with the national government to declare the town as a disaster area, adding that he has also personally interacted with the President Cyril Ramaphosa, whom he said had always provided bold leadership during such crises.

“We are comforted by the fact that the national government is in constant liaison with the province, especially the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Thembi Nkadimeng. She is liaising with our MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Bongi Sithole-Moloi, who was here yesterday,” concludes Duma.

KZN premier candidate Chris Pappas interacted with residents affected by the storm in Margate. | Supplied

Meanwhile the area was also visited by the provincial DA premier candidate Chris Pappas who blamed the poor maintenance of infrastructure which he said exacerbated the damage. He said in his assessment he found that Margate’s storm and drain systems were not up to par to mitigate heavy downpours.

“While storms are a natural phenomenon, their impact is catastrophic in the absence of proper infrastructure and related planning,” Pappas said.

The storm that swept through the tourist town on Sunday left five people dead and a trail of business and infrastructure destruction.

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