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KZN floods: MPs warn against abuse of water aid

People wait outside a shop in eMdloti with bottled water. Thousands of people are without access to clean drinking water after the floods caused major damage to infrastructure. Pictures: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency (ANA)

People wait outside a shop in eMdloti with bottled water. Thousands of people are without access to clean drinking water after the floods caused major damage to infrastructure. Pictures: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 20, 2022

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Durban - MPs have warned against the abuse of water resources in flood-stricken areas in KwaZulu-Natal that left hundreds of people dead and thousands displaced.

eThekwini metro is the hardest hit with other districts including Umzinyathi, Uthukela and Ugu, also affected by the floods.

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The government has set aside R1 billion to provide aid to affected families and it has been estimated that repairing damaged roads and other infrastructure will require R5.6bn.

While ordinary residents are struggling, reports have emerged that a water tanker supplied water to Premier Sihle Zikalala’s home in La Mercy.

The premier has denied this.

Video: Supplied

On Wednesday, the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on water and sanitation called for an end to the abuse of water resources.

It said law enforcement agencies should be roped in when such incidents occurred.

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“We welcome the deployment of 250 technical staff from DWA (the Department of Water and Sanitation), Umgeni Water, and eThekwini Municipality that is intended to ensure the speedy repair of bulk infrastructure and that the people get water. Also, the deployment of tankers to ensure the provision of water in the short and medium term is welcomed as it will ensure that people have access to water and prevent any inception of any waterborne diseases,” said committee chairperson Robert Mashego.

“Despite this, the committee has cautioned against the temptation to abuse emergency procurement processes which have mainly been utilised to intervene in the disaster,” he said.

“We call on the department to put in place systems to prevent the abuse of state resources and tanker system for the benefit of a selected few,” said Mashego.

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“The main purpose of this intervention and the committee's support is for the benefit of everyone affected by the floods. We urge the department and all the law enforcement agencies to act harshly against anyone proven to have abused the emergency procurement system and related processes.”

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