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Ramaphosa advised to be clear and present in managing of KZN flood disaster

26 April 2022 - 22:28
A joint sitting of the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly met on Tuesday.
A joint sitting of the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly met on Tuesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

Political parties presented a united front during the special joint sitting of the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly as they discussed the government’s response to the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address, leader of the opposition John Steenhuisen had one advice for Ramaphosa: “Be present and be honest. Let the people there know that you are in charge. Let them know exactly what the plan is and update them about this plan regularly.”

Don’t guarantee that relief aid won’t be stolen when you know that your party has a looting problem. Don’t describe your relief effort as massive and urgent if it is anything but that
John Steenhuisen, DA leader

Steenhuisen told Ramaphosa not to make promises that he couldn't keep.

“Don’t guarantee that relief aid won’t be stolen when you know that your party has a looting problem. Don’t describe your relief effort as massive and urgent if it is anything but that.”

Steenhuisen said the government needed to have a real-time dashboard to share real-time information on dam levels and usage.

The EFF’s Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi told MPs that the poor were going to feel the pain of climate change far more than the rich.

“We have been forewarned that the careless type of nature development that humanity has embarked on over 100 years went over and above what the natural system could accommodate.

“Southern Africa and Africa at large is paying for the sins committed by the global north which has been burning fossil fuels without care for generations. The development they pride themselves on has laid the ground for the destruction of humanity. The heavy rains in KZN and Eastern Cape are as a result of climate change.”

Mkhaliphi said SA was not well equipped to deal with climate change while the IFP’s Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi told MPs that he was personally affected by the floods.

“On Sunday morning Princess Lindiwe kaJohnson kaTshelendoda kaDinuzulu laid to rest her daughter Princess Bonakele and four of her grandchildren Yenzokuhle, Aphile, Elimile and Zekhethelo.”

All five died when their house collapsed in Hammarsdale, outside Durban.

FF Plus MP Peter Groenewald told Ramaphosa that the government should keep a close eye on the money that will be dispersed to assist those in need and ensure that it was used accordingly.

“I can assure you that there are certain hyenas and vultures waiting at the gates for the funds so that they can loot.”

Groenewald told Ramaphosa that the contracts should be publicised and open to public scrutiny.

The ACDP’s Steven Swart called on the government to rope in religious leaders to assist the government.

“I pleaded with you to bring in all the faith-based organisations. Not only are they praying but they are affecting change for we know that faith without action is worthless.”

The UDM’s Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said he took some of the commitments made by the government “with a pinch of salt because of some of the incidents that have happened in the past with Covid-19".

“Resources that were allocated to help our people ended up in the pockets of greedy comrades.”

Kwankwa welcomed the government's introduction of real-time audits being conducted to track the money.

“If there is anything the recent floods have taught us, it is that tenders must be given to companies with experience to minimise chances of crumbling infrastructure and roads swallowing vehicles in cases of heavy rains.”

He said those who are awarded tenders must be held accountable.

KZN premier Sihle Zikalala told MPs that there were 53 people who were still unaccounted for and again assured them that the money will be used properly.

He said: “We commit that in all the interventions that will be done by the provincial government we will ensure that we are corruption free and ensure that all contracts are pre-audited.”

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane said nearly 1,000 people have been affected by damage to private property. 

“More than five villages have been left without water and electricity due to damage in water and sanitation infrastructure. Ten schools and 12 health facilities have been damaged in OR Tambo and Chris Hani districts.”

The damage to agricultural infrastructure will affect the 2022 harvest.

“More than 170 roads have suffered irreparable damage in our province, mostly rural roads.”

One of the priorities for Mabuyane is to fix the roads that have been damaged.

He said the current indication was that it would cost the Eastern Cape government more than R2bn to rebuild infrastructure in the province.

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