Durban — South African Local Government Association (Salga) chairperson Thami Ntuli is calling for a sense of urgency, as 40 people have died due to the latest floods in KwaZulu-Natal and five are still missing.
Moreover, parts of Ladysmith were again flooded after heavy rains on Monday evening.
In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Ntuli said Salga has engaged with the provincial local government about issues of repairing and maintaining the stormwater pipes and drainage systems.
“We were caught by the issue of the financial capacity that even now municipalities are not able to easily access the grant which is supposed to assist them to maintain the infrastructure,” said Ntuli.
He added that they made a call that the grant be allocated to the municipalities, instead of them applying for it.
Ntuli said the municipalities would then be able to address the issues of ensuring that drainage systems within the towns and cities were in good condition.
He said that another reason for the loss of life, especially in rural areas, was where people built their homes.
“We believe that needs to be a priority by all municipalities in order to make sure that they engage with the traditional leaders.
“So that whenever they allocate land for building houses to the people, they are not placed where it could be dangerous for them.”
He said what had happened should make any responsible leader consider this an urgent matter to be attended to.
Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Nonala Ndlovu said approximately 70 people were evacuated from Ladysmith central and accommodated in the Indoor Sports Centre to ensure their safety.
Ndlovu said their teams also responded to the Steadville Township area, where 15 people had to be evacuated to the community hall, and another 23 in Matiwane were placed in the community hall for their safety.
The Provincial Disaster Teams, working with the al-Imdaad Foundation for Disaster and the South African Red Cross, have provided disaster relief to the affected people, including blankets and mattresses, said Ndlovu.
Ndlovu added that in another incident, disaster teams responded in the area of Msinga, where people living in a block of rental rooms built along the uThukela River were evacuated, as the river was overflowing after heavy rains.
“Our teams are monitoring the situation and once the area has been confirmed to be safe, they will all return to their homes.
“At this stage, neither fatalities nor injuries have been recorded as a result of this heavy rainfall,” said Ndlovu.
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