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Solidarity Fund says it will handle flood disaster funds with transparency

20 April 2022 - 15:51
The remains of a pensioner's house washed away by floods at Ekukhanyeni in Pinetown.
The remains of a pensioner's house washed away by floods at Ekukhanyeni in Pinetown.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The Solidarity Fund has promised to handle flood disaster funds  for KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape with the same transparency it did when managing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Solidarity Fund flood response will account for its activities with the same transparency and corporate governance that has been applied to all of the fund’s activities to date,” the fund said on Tuesday.

The assurance comes after growing calls from South Africans who expressed concern over the possibility of the disaster funds being looted. KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has also moved to allay fears, saying:  “All the resources allocated for flood relief and the recovery and rebuilding process will be used in line with fiscal rectitude, accountability, transparency and openness.”

A Solidarity Fund floods “response pillar” has been established which will ring-fence the flood response activities and operate separately from the Covid-19 fund.

The fund announced that it had resolved to support and augment the government's response to the floods in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

“The decision was taken at an urgent Solidarity Fund board meeting on April 16, where a request was tabled by national government for the fund to support the national response.

“As a result, the pillar has been established which will ring-fence the floods response activities and will operate separately from the Covid-19 fund. The National Treasury will make an initial amount available to the fund so that it is in a position to assist in implementing and augmenting certain of the government’s support measures.”

A bank account, separate from the Covid-19 pandemic response account, has been set up to receive donations. Donations can be made to:

  • Solidarity Fund Floods Response Pillar bank account
  • Account name: SF Floods Response
  • Bank: Standard Bank Business Current Account
  • Account number: 070064474

On Monday President Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation that he had met the leadership of the fund and asked that it make its capacity available to help with the emergency.

“The board has agreed to assist with humanitarian and other forms of relief in partnership with the government, the private sector and various other non-governmental and community-based organisations.,” said Ramaphosa.

While the Treasury will pay in an initial amount, it will be the fund that implements support measures for those in need. 

The fund said details pertaining to the value of initial funding, timing and focus of the response will become clearer in the coming days and a more detailed statement will be issued in due course.

“For an area still reeling from the after-effects of the Covid-19 lockdowns and the July unrest, the impact of the floods is particularly devastating.”

The fund has assured South Africans that it is ideally positioned to respond and provide rapid and effective support to those in need. “Responding to this disaster falls well within the fund’s second phase of operation,” said fund chair Gloria Serobe. 

“In March, the Solidarity Fund board passed a resolution that the fund would be wound down over time and be put in a dormant state. It was anticipated that it could be remobilised rapidly and effectively should another overwhelming national crisis occur.

“Though it was not anticipated that this eventuality would arise so soon, such a decision provided for exactly the circumstances that have arisen. The Solidarity Fund is well placed to assume this role.”

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