The Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Thembi Nkadimeng, announced that the National Disaster Management Centre has classified municipalities affected by floods in KZN as disaster areas.
This comes after Cogta revealed preliminary assessment reports indicate that the province has suffered billions of rand in damage to infrastructure due to heavy rains.
The minister said at this stage, over R 2 billion worth of infrastructure damage has been recorded in the Uthukela District including roads, bridges, schools and households.
Municipalities including Uthukela, Ilembe, Ugu, Umzinyathi, and eThekwini Metro, have been classified as disaster areas.
According to the Disaster Act, this classification will enable municipalities to re-prioritise their budgets and focus on repair projects. It will also facilitate access to additional funding from provincial and national departments for infrastructure repair, such as roads, bridges, and households.
The minister was in KZN alongside Deputy Minister Parks Tau, KZN Cogta MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, district and local leadership where they surveyed areas affected by floods in Ladysmith under the Uthukela District on Friday.
Nkadimeng further said that the decision to declare the municipalities as disaster areas rests with President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will make a determination once the province has completed its assessment and followed all the due processes.
"The persistent rains have unfortunately caused delays in our repair efforts and assessment, as our teams are still on the ground. However, we appreciate the efforts made by municipalities such as eThekwini Metro and here in Uthukela which has already initiated repairs using their available budget,” she said.
The minister said the delegation 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. We are also aware that the storm is not over yet, which is also worrying.”
She said along the N11, bridges have collapsed, and water dams in the Ladysmith area require urgent attention.
Nkadimeng said once the assessments are concluded and all necessary steps followed, the department will request the president to declare a state of disaster for specific parts of the province so that the National Treasury and other national departments can provide assistance.
MEC Sithole-Moloi expressed her appreciation for the active response from the national government and stressed that the province is committed to swift action.
"We have been collaborating with visible national teams and have received support from the nation, including search and rescue assistance. We would appreciate it if the president can declare a state of disaster in the affected municipalities because the costs are already in excess of billions which these municipalities cannot afford,” said the MEC.