KZN Municipalities may be declared disaster areas

The National Disaster Management Centre has declared municipalities affected by floods in KwaZulu-Natal as disaster areas.

The National Disaster Management Centre has declared municipalities affected by floods in KwaZulu-Natal as disaster areas.

Published Jan 22, 2024


Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Thembi Nkadimeng, has announced that the National Disaster Management Centre has declared municipalities affected by floods in KwaZulu-Natal as disaster areas.

The department explained that this classification of several municipalities including uThukela, Ilembe, Ugu, Umzinyathi, and eThekwini Metro was the first step in the process. If the municipalities are then declared disaster areas, repair work on damaged infrastructure would be fast tracked, by re-prioritising municipal budgets to focus on repair projects and accessing additional funding from provincial and national departments.

“This decision (to declare disaster areas) rests with the president, who will make a determination once the province has completed its assessment and followed all due processes.”

Cogta said preliminary reports indicated that the province had suffered billions of rand in damage to infrastructure. In uThukela alone; at this stage it would cost R2billion to repair the infrastructure damage that has been recorded.

“We have assessed significant damages in areas like KwaDukuza, Indwedwe, and eThekwini, among others. As you drive along you could see the devastation caused by the rains.

“Once we conclude our assessment and follow all necessary steps, we will request that the president declares a state of disaster for specific parts of the province so that the National Treasury and other national departments can provide assistance,” said Nkadimeng.

“The Mercury” spoke to those affected by the recent fatal, damaging storm in eThekwini.

DA councillor Yogis Govender, who is the PR councillor assisting in oThongathi and Verulam, said the northern areas were in chaos due to a collapse of infrastructure under the City’s Water and Sanitation unit (EWS).

Govender said this is a full blown humanitarian crisis and called on the municipality to act with urgency.

“Water wars have started with fights breaking out, (and) threats to councillors and other residents, for water tankers,” she said, adding that the DA picketed outside the Durban City Hall on Saturday against these injustices.

Jeannie Sarno, the chairperson of uMhlanga Tourism, said the organisation together with the EWS, Durban Tourism and relevant professionals, were trying to best understand the issues that are causing catastrophic structural failures which in the end leads to sewage spillage into the ocean.

“I speak not just for the uMhlanga Tourism CTO but all those also on the coast of KZN when I say we just cannot continue like this.

“Our hotels, restaurants and tour operators all suffer from bookings that continue to be affected due to the E. Coli levels in our sea,” said Sarno.

Sarno said businesses that were flooded have to wait for insurance payouts to fix and repair damages.

“There are visitors who are supposed to come in February and they are already changing their plans to head to Ballito or not come at all,” added Sarno.

The driveway of the Spring Glades apartment complex, that has 90 units, has been directly affected by the sinkhole on Chartwell Drive.

Spring Glades chairperson Arthur Limbouris said last week, following the destructive storm, that more heavy rain erased the remedial work that had already been done.

“That midweek rain has caused that hole in my opinion to more than double and everything keeps coming down.

“We had the engineers here and it looks like they have to take down part of the building at the top by the Chartwell entrance area. They (the insurance company) promised it would go out for tender on Monday and have someone appointed in 10 days,” he said.

The Mercury