KZN floods: Govt built just 108 temporary houses as thousands still languish in tents and halls

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Displaced people from an informal settlement of Thuthukani, near Tongaat, receive food hampers at the Tongaat Community hall.
Displaced people from an informal settlement of Thuthukani, near Tongaat, receive food hampers at the Tongaat Community hall.
PHOTO: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP
  • The government has so far built only 108 temporary structures for the victims of the deadly KwaZulu-Natal floods.
  • The plan is to construct approximately 1 810 temporary residential units.
  • Following the floods in April, thousands were left destitute, and more than 400 people died.

As hundreds of KwaZulu-Natal flood victims languish in community halls, the government has so far built 108 temporary residential units for more than 6 000 people left destitute by deadly floods.

The plan "in the immediate future" is to construct approximately 1 810 units.

This is contained in Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi's response to a written parliamentary question from DA MP Emma Louise Powell.

READ | Sex, drunks and insults: Flood victims plead for dignity

Powell wanted details on the remedial assistance to be provided to beneficiaries of the Breaking New Ground houses that were destroyed during the KwaZulu-Natal floods and on and by when the assistance would be provided.

Kubayi said the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements was responsible for the planning and implementation of housing and human settlements programmes in the province.

This included the Human Settlements Emergency Housing Programme, she added.

"The province has advised that they have commenced with the construction of temporary residential units [TRUs] for households whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by the floods which occurred during the course of April 2022.    

One of the temporary residential units in Mamelodi
An example of the temporary residential units (TRU) that the government supplies.
News24 Alex Mitchley/News24

"The households are currently being accommodated and housed with neighbours and/or in halls and/or churches and/or tents.  

READ | KZN saw eight new rain records on 12 April, with Margate doubling a high set 25 years ago

"The department is planning in the immediate future to construct approximately 1 810 temporary residential units. One-hundred-and-eight temporary residential units [TRUs] have been completed for families affected by floods in various district municipalities, including the eThekwini Metro," Kubayi said.

Following the floods, 6 278 people were left homeless and more than 400 died in the devastation.

Shortly after the floods, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national state of disaster had been declared, and R1 billion would be made available for relief measures.

Displaced people from an informal settlement of Th
Displaced people from an informal settlement of Thuthukani, near Tongaat, after floods.
AFP AFP

Almost two months later, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana informed Parliament’s Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Flood Disaster Relief these funds had not been accessed.

Kubayi said the target was to complete all the temporary residential areas within three months (May to July 2022).

READ | KZN flood relief: Qatar's donation of coveralls, surgical masks found to be expired

"However, it should be noted that the set timeframes will depend on a number of operational and technical variables, which include obtaining suitable land for displaced families, the necessary planning and environmental approvals, availability of materials to construct the temporary residential units [TRUs] and so on.

"[The] KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements, in conjunction with eThekwini and the national Department of Human Settlements, developed a long-term or permanent solution to assist flood victims."

Kubayi added 199 serviced sites located within eThekwini Metro had been identified, and a verification process and site visits have been completed.

"A total of 65 sites have been identified as developable and will be suitable for development as a permanent solution. The 65 sites vary in size, ranging from 300sqm to 2 800sqm. Therefore, more than one unit can be constructed. The department also identified various land parcels to provide permanent accommodation," she said.

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