Heavy rains in Limpopo leave 1 dead, damage houses and infrastructure

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  • Recent heavy rains in Limpopo have resulted in one death and substantial damage to houses and infrastructure in 11 villages in the Mopani district.
  • Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs' budget was cut by more than R257 million.
  • MEC Basikopo Makamu has called on businesses and NGOs to assist people affected in Mopani.

The heavy rains that fell over the past few days have resulted in one death and substantial damage to houses and infrastructure in 11 villages in the Mopani district in Limpopo.

The provincial Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, which is responsible for disaster management, reported an eight-year old child died when the roof and windows of a house were blown off during the devastating storm at the weekend.

The damage comes at a time when the province is emerging from the costly Covid-19 pandemic which saw the department's budget being slashed by more than R257 million.

In an interview with News24 on Tuesday, Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC Basikopo Makamu described the disaster in Mopani district as a "double blow".

Makamu expressed fear there might be havoc across the province given the prediction of more heavy rains by the South African Weather Service.

"We have activated all the district disaster management centres that they must be ready for any eventuality. However, it's not going to only be [up to] the department to deal with the matter. We are going to deal with the matter as government in its totality."

He said the challenge would be to provide shelter to the people whose houses were badly damaged because the government was only allowed to build low-cost houses of up to R150 000 each.

"To a person who has lost a nine-roomed house, it will be difficult for him because he has never been in that situation.

"This is a double blow. When we were still reeling under the disaster of Covid-19, another one comes," Makamu added.

He pointed out he would submit a presentation to the legislature's portfolio committee asking for an increased budget.

"I'm busy making a presentation to the portfolio committee about our budget reduction. As the department, our budget was reduced by about R257 million due to Covid-19. Reducing money [means] reducing services on the ground."

Makamu called on businesses and NGOs to also assist the people affected in Mopani.

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