Outcry over unspent KZN flood relief funds for businesses

A road in the central business district of eManzimtoti, south of Durban is flooded during the April 2022 storm

A road in the central business district of eManzimtoti, south of Durban is flooded during the April 2022 storm that devastated KZN. File Picture: Laura Ruth Hampton

Published Jul 19, 2023


Durban - Opposition parties have lambasted the KwaZulu-Natal government for apparent inaction after it emerged that over R60 million meant to assist businesses that were affected by floods had still not been used by March 31.

This was revealed in the close out report for the 2022/23 financial year presented by KZN Treasury to members of the finance portfolio committee last week.

EFF Member of Provincial Legislature (MPL) Nkululeko Ngubane said it was shameful that there were instances where money was allocated but was not being spent.

“We feel vindicated because we had been stating that not enough was given to our people, now this report shows that the money was there but was not used.

“This is something that cannot be justified,” the EFF MPL said.

He accused some MECs of seeking the spotlight instead of assisting people in dire need of government services.

“The only individual with the sense of being grounded is MEC (Sipho) Nkosi, as for the rest there is not much to say because they don’t do much,” said Ngubane.

DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers described the latest revelations as a further illustration of ANC government failures at both provincial and local government level.

“Obviously once again this is an illustration of the uncaring and incapable state that we have in the province of KwaZulu-Natal,” said the DA leader.

He noted how many businesses were still trying to recover from the 2021 riots and the floods last year and how they needed as much help as possible.

“We have seen in eThekwini Municipality conditional grants not being spent, so this is nothing new under an ANC government,” he stressed.

The DA leader warned that they would not allow the matter to be ignored, and would be probing the matter at committee level and at parliamentary level.

“We will be driving this issue and asking for a full report as to exactly what happened and why this money was not spent,” Rodgers said.

IFP MPL Otto Kunene called for sanctions against individual officials responsible for the under-expenditure.

The MPL said people who would have benefited were those without insurance, but owing to the department’s slow pace in spending, they still had to wait.

“If we are serious about small businesses being the drivers of the economy then we should be assisting them, and not allowing the money to go back to the treasury,” he said.

Angel Sibisi from the KZN Economic Development department could not be reached for comment yesterday.