KZN flood victims still waiting on eThekwini for municipal services

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Part of Caversham road in Pinetown  was washed away on April 12, 2022 in Durban.
Part of Caversham road in Pinetown was washed away on April 12, 2022 in Durban.
(Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)
  • KwaZulu-Natal municipal authorities are yet to complete temporary residential units for victims of the devastating April floods.
  • Many are yet to be connected to water and electricity services.
  • It is estimated that R2.2 billion is needed for short-term emergency repairs to damaged water and sewerage infrastructure.

Four months after devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal swept away thousands of houses, “intervention” is still required from municipal authorities in Durban to install services to be connected to proposed temporary residential units.

According to officials, engagements with the City of eThekwini’s water and sanitation department are ongoing.

On Friday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma presented to Parliament her department’s progress in its response to the April floods in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape that claimed the lives of more than 300 people.

READ | Gungubele reveals why municipalities, departments have delayed applying for flood relief funds

Jurgens Dyssel, senior manager for legislation, policy and compliance management at the National Disaster Management Centre, told MPs on the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery that repair cost would run into the billions.

“The estimation and verification of damaged and costing [in KZN] have been completed. Twenty-seven wastewater treatment works in eThekwini were damaged; 75 water infrastructure and 62 sewer infrastructure facilities. R2.214 billion is estimated for short-term emergency repairs.

"[A] long-term ‘building back better’ scenario is estimated to require R7.734 billion. A war room was established and mobilised about 250 personnel to address KZN water sector damages. Updates show substantial progress in resolving water provision in five major regions in eThekwini. Of all the regions, the south region is the one that is still presenting challenges,” he said.

Dyssel said the designs would be in line with the permanent solution to follow later.

“Intervention is still required from the City of eThekwini on the installation of services to connect proposed TRUs [temporary residential units]. Engagements with the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department are ongoing. Phase 2 procurement for the construction of additional TRUs has been cleared by provincial treasury and real-time auditors,” he said in a presentation.

READ | Fraud and IT experts to police KZN flood relief funds, AG vows to keep spending in check

Dyssel said challenges were also reported for the restoration of water provision to specific facilities.

“KZN has been requested to provide a list of healthcare facilities that still depend on water takers for the water supplies and a plan on how they are to be resolved. The health and water sectors must work together on this issue,” he said.

Furthermore, he said 736 temporary residential units were handed over to families for occupation in phase 1.

“There are eight sites identified for TRUs in eThekwini Metro [and] three will fall within the north region and five in the west region. Eight sites with completed layouts will yield a total of 1074 TRUs, including ablution blocks. The total anticipated yield will be confirmed once all layouts are completed. Preliminary engineering designs process [are] under way for all sites,” he said.

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