Storms: disaster declared in KZN

2009-12-09 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL has been declared a disaster area following recent storms, the province’s Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Nomusa Dube, said yesterday.

“As all of you are aware, our province of KwaZulu-Natal is still reeling after it was ravaged by storm disasters which left a trail of destruction of property and infrastructure, and also claimed lives.

“During the period dating from November 6 to 27, 2009, these incidents caused severe damages to people’s homes, access roads, power lines and natural vegetation, and injured a number of people with at least eight fatalities reported,” said Dube.

Hardest hit were the Sisonke, Ilembe, Ugu and Amajuba district municipalities.

Dube said that the financial implications for the disaster management and recovery activities are estimated to add up to R348 471 450,89, adding that this total will primarily address damage to housing, roads and bridges as well as school repairs, agriculture recovery and food for the victims.

The damage includes 2 270 partially damaged houses, which will require R11 304 000 to fix; 2 065 completely destroyed houses, which will cost R115 640 000 to replace; school repairs at R10 150 000; repairs to roads and bridges at R195 287 260; repairs to Umzumbe Bridge (where a child died) at R4 million; food at R903 560; agriculture at R5 836 630; and replenishing relief stocks at R2 350 000.

“Given the magnitude of the damage suffered, the provincial government has decided to declare a provincial disaster in all the affected areas … In the light of the adverse weather conditions being experienced in our province, we would like to urge all our municipalities to remain on high alert for potential disasters.

“The department will continue to activate its disaster management division to ensure that together with district municipalities, we respond to any disastrous occurrence in time,” said Dube.

Meanwhile, in a move to deal with poorly performing municipalities, Dube announced that the department has taken a decision that councillors and municipal managers presiding over errant municipalities will no longer receive salary increases or bonuses.

This is an attempt, said Dube, to encourage clean governance and improve performance in municipalities, and it will affect all councillors across the province’s 61 municipalities.

“As the MEC, I am due to make a determination on the annual upper limits for councillors before Christmas. We are of the view that reports by the auditor-general on the financial situation of municipalities should inform the decision we take on this matter. We think this will motivate councillors to increase their oversight over administration in municipalities.”

The announcement by Dube follows the approval of a comprehensive “local government turnaround strategy” taken on December 2.

The department has already appointed an internal task team to drive the process.

The task team will first consolidate a number of information sources and classify these issues per municipality based on the type and intensity of support a municipality requires. This will enable the department to develop a support and turnaround strategy for each municipality based on its capacity to absorb the support and sustain it. These strategies will be aligned to the nationally approved turnaround strategy for local government, said Dube.


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