R372m disaster relief funds released

The KZN Cogta said it would prioritise the repair of infrastructure and roads in the province.

The KZN Cogta said it would prioritise the repair of infrastructure and roads in the province.

Published Apr 11, 2024


The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has been urged to prioritise the repairs to infrastructure and roads that were damaged in the floods two years ago.

The National Treasury announced this week that it had released R372 million from the Municipal Disaster Response Grant to provinces.

The national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said the funds were to be used to repair roads and infrastructure that have been damaged by floods and heavy rains, especially since the 2022 floods.

The KZN Cogta said it would prioritise the repair of infrastructure and roads in the province.

Martin Meyer, DA KZN spokesperson on Cogta, said it was good news that the funds had been released; however, it was important that the municipalities used the funds for this purpose.

“The issue is that we feel municipalities are not doing enough to use this grant for its purpose to repair damaged infrastructure, and we are finding that the money is not used and is eventually lost.”

Meyer said that the municipalities in KZN had identified areas where roads and infrastructure were damaged.

“The main issue is that there needs to be oversight visits from Cogtas, both from national and KZN, to ensure that these funds are being used for their intended purpose and are used quickly and correctly. This is the only way we are going to see roads and infrastructure being repaired in KZN.”

Otto Kunene, an IFP KZN legislature member and a member of KZN Cogta portfolio committee, said the disaster grant was needed to assist municipalities with repairs to damages caused by floods.

“There are areas such as the uMkhomazi River pedestrian bridge that still needed to be repaired. There are also areas such as in Inanda and Chesterville in eThekwini that have experienced damage due to floods and need to be repaired.”

Kunene said he believed that the damage in eThekwini should be addressed urgently.

“This municipality is the economic hub and we need to start seeing repairs to damage as it will benefit the economy. There are also areas such as Ladysmith where there was major damage to infrastructure after the floods last year and they badly need funds to do repairs.

“Thereafter areas like uThukela, King Cetshwayo and Zululand also need to be attended to.”

KZN COGTA spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said the funds from the disaster grant would be distributed to various municipalities that suffered flood damages.

“This grant funding comes after we, as a department, submitted reports after conducting assessments with the National Disaster Management Centre.”

Mngadi said the funds were to be used for the rebuilding of critical public infrastructure such as road repairs, bridges, water and treatment plants, and stormwater management.

“The budget will be distributed as per the repair projects that were identified. As a department, we have set up committees to assist the municipalities in implementing the repair projects to comply with the conditions of the grant.”

In a statement, the Treasury said that it approved an allocation of R1.844 billion for the 2023/24 financial year to address the effects of disasters across multiple provinces.

Cogta Minister Thembi Nkadimeng said 199 projects across various municipalities in seven provinces have already been approved.

These include 65 projects in KZN, 36 in the Eastern Cape, 30 in the Western Cape, 29 in the Free State, 19 in Mpumalanga, 18 in Limpopo, and two in the North West.

The Mercury