By Cawekazi Mdletshe

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has allocated R695-million emergency funding to deal with floods
that has left at least seven people dead and massive damage to infrastructure like roads and bridges in
its wake.

Seven of the country’s nine provinces have been affected with Mpumalanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal being
the hardest hit. On February 13, the Kwa-Zulu Natal provincial disaster management department of
Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (COGTA) reported that five people had died
in the southeastern province, including a newborn baby. There were also reports of several people missing, after attempting to cross swollen rivers in several provinces including Gauteng. Two additional deaths were reported in northeastern Mpumalanga province.

In northern Limpopo, a hospital, roads, and bridges were damaged, and vehicles were washed away.
The presidency has also acknowledged that farmers have suffered crop and livestock losses.
Tabling his budget speech in parliament on 22 February, Godongwana said government was making
R695 million available in this financial year for immediate relief saying a further R1 billion will be
available next year.

“The emergency response also requires provinces and municipalities to reprioritise existing allocations
to cater for the immediate needs of affected communities, such as temporary shelter and social
assistance. “The contingency reserve will also be used to fund emergency responses, including as undertaken by the Defence Force. As it pertains to recovery and repair, which relates to longer term rehabilitation and rebuilding of damaged infrastructure, assessments of the extent of the damage and costs need to be determined. Funding for this component will be through the normal budget process,” he said.

The impact of the floods that happened in April last year in Kwa-Zulu Natal especially the Durban areas
were particularly severe on the already vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in the city. Many
people living in informal settlements or shack dwellings lost everything in the floods, including their
homes and belongings. The government has promised to provide assistance to those a

ffected by the floods, including temporary shelter and financial support for rebuilding.
Vusimuzi Dube, one of the victims, poured cold water on Godongwana emergency fund, saying; “as a
Ethekwini resident and civil servant, I’m not hopeful about the future of our country after the challenges
we faced due to COVID-19. The lootings, and the floods last year now we have to wait for the next year
to get assistance, nothing has changed it’s just empty promises,” he said.
Another resident Musa Zuma, was a bit more optimistic.

“I am really hopeful that I will be able to get shelter for me and my family this year because I lost my
house during the April floods last year. We have been staying with since. I hope Minister Godongwana
will stick to his word,” said Zuma. A Durban based business man Khaya Mdletshe said he was lukewarm to the minister’s announcement.

“As a KZN business owner affected by both flooding and looting in 2021, I am cautiously optimistic about
the government’s plans to strengthen public services and infrastructure investment, as well as efforts to
fight crime and corruption. However, I remain concerned about the impact of the worsening economic
outlook on my daily operations, I had to start afresh from the loss during the floods because I lost
everything,” he said. Godongwana also explained the funds were made available to assist with the disaster responses, such as the recent floods across several provinces fall into the two categories, one for the immediate relief while another will be allocated for long term repair and recovery.

He said floods victims who were left homeless must access the emergency relief fund for temporary
accommodation and food. “Priority should be given to the immediate needs of communities affected by the floods, KZN has been picking up the pieces from the devastating April floods that resulted in more than 440 facilities and some other victims are still housed in temporary shelters in Durban, said Godongwana in his budget speech.

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