Durban — The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said it would be involved in assisting communities following the recent floods in the country.
This was announced during Armed Forces Day (AFD 23) held in Richards Bay, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday. It started on February 6 and will end on February 22. The event comprises a series of activities culminating in the main parade on February 21, wherein President Cyril Ramaphosa, is expected to officiate.
Last week, uMkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo, and Amajuba districts in KZN experienced torrential rainfall which affected communities and the SANDF’s military camp which was set up for the Armed Forces Day in Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone.
Due to the incident, the AFD23 joint command cadre (a military unit responsible for training the rest of the unit) had taken a decision to temporarily relocate the affected members to local community halls around Richards Bay, while the army engineers and civilian authorities found a solution to deal with the flooded military camp site.
Lieutenant General Fhurani Michael Ramantswana said following the declaration of the state disaster the SANDF was already involved with particular areas.
“We have employed the capabilities that are within the SANDF from the engineers themselves. Now we are going beyond this thinking but broadening up to the extent. This disaster does not seem like it will go away any time soon but we are broadening ourselves up to say perhaps we need to rethink the concept of disaster management,” said Ramantswana.
Commenting on the aftermath of the floods, uMhlathuze mayor Xolani Ngwezi said many people in the district were affected, including 11 houses that were flooded.
He said about 1 000 families were affected, and some 33 people in the area of Esikhaleni had to be evacuated.
Ngwezi said the people in these areas were most affected because they built their houses next to the river banks.
“We are currently working with Human Settlements and have already appointed a service provider that is dealing with information gathering on how we are supposed to move about,” said Ngwezi.
He added that due to climate change challenges municipalities and other stakeholders needed to prepare themselves for maintenance of infrastructure, especially in areas owned by amakhosi where roads were washed away.
“I’m afraid we may have to request more funding from Cogta (Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department), although they have already given us some funding to address the disasters which struck us a year ago. There are also dangers with these gravel roads. You do them today; once there is rain for the next two days the whole R7 million road gets washed away,” Ngwezi said.
He said the municipality was currently working with a R12m budget to make resilient tar roads that would be able to face the destructive nature of heavy rains due to climate change and related issues.
On Monday, the South African government declared a National State of Disaster in seven provinces, including KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, the Northern Cape and North West after heavy rains continue to batter these provinces.
WhatsApp your views on this story at 071 485 7995