UJ flood relief fund to go to Gift of the Givers due to lack of trust in government

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Bilall Jeewa from the Gift of the Givers in Tongaat outside Durban where they helped residents affected by the heavy rains in KwaZulu-Natal.
Bilall Jeewa from the Gift of the Givers in Tongaat outside Durban where they helped residents affected by the heavy rains in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has launched a relief fund to aid the communities in KwaZulu-Natal that have been affected by the recent floods.

The chair of the UJ council, Mike Teke, and vice-chancellor and principal Professor Tshilidzi Marwala will be donating R120 000 to the fund. Teke will donate R100 000, while Marwala will donate R20 000.

UJ said the province recorded more than 351mm of rainfall, which caused significant damage to infrastructure, including electricity supply, washed away roads and bridges, as well as damage to schools and health facilities. More than 400 people have lost their lives and many others are still missing.

READ: 12 000 Family homes destroyed in devastating floods

Speaking to City Press on Monday, Marwala said the institution was investing in the rebuilding of the flood-hit areas in the province, and it was heartening to see civil society and humanitarian groups stepping in and rolling up their sleeves to assist.

“If we invest in the rebuilding of KwaZulu-Natal, all of us win. The humanitarian aspect of the disaster is too hard to ignore. It is clear that rebuilding KwaZulu-Natal is going to require additional resources, additional skills and a much more robust leadership, and we are concerned about that because it requires engineers and town planners. We will have to reflect on why were we not adequately prepared for this disaster,” Marwala said.

Marwala added that the institution was expecting to raise more than R1 million, which would be handed over to Gift of the Givers: 

People will ask why them and the reason is very simple, we don’t believe that government has the capacity to handle funds.

“This is from the lessons we learnt from the disappearance of Covid-19 funds. So, Gift of the Givers, as a trusted entity, would be a good one.

“We are planning to hand over whatever we have collected by the end of this week, but that does not mean the relief fund has stopped.”

Sassa to the rescue

Meanwhile, the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has been providing distress relief by handing out food vouchers, school uniforms and blankets.

READ: Clean water is now KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest problem

Over the weekend, Deputy Social Development Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said the agency had increased the cash benefit from R700 to R1 960 where there had been loss of life.

“The value of food vouchers has increased from R700 to R1 200 and, to date, Sassa has issued vouchers valued at R434 520. The agency has taken new applications for uniforms valued at R372 280.”

She added that since the beginning of the disaster, the department had deployed 337 social service professionals in all the affected areas.

“The department has trauma response task teams in all district municipalities to provide psychosocial support,” she said.


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