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Government trying to identify suitable land so KZN flood victims can rebuild

19 May 2022 - 20:37 By Mfundo Mkhize
KZN premier Sihle Zikalala says suitable land must be found on which to build houses for the thousands of locals who lost their homes in last month's flood.
KZN premier Sihle Zikalala says suitable land must be found on which to build houses for the thousands of locals who lost their homes in last month's flood.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala on Thursday said though service providers had been appointed to build 1,810 temporary residential units to house flood victims across the province, progress was being slowed by non-suitability of land identified.

More than 77 units have been built to date. He said units were being built in Molweni, KwaMakhutha and Inanda. 

“These will be handed over to beneficiaries,” said Zikalala.  

He was addressing a media briefing in Mayville, Durban. 

It has been more than a month since the disastrous floods claimed the lives of at least 448 people in the province.

Zikalala said out of 64 mass care centres, 21 had been linked with possible land parcels.  At least 25 land parcels from the national and provincial public works departments had been identified, totalling 49ha.

He said detailed assessment is being undertaken on the 25 recommended properties.  He said though there were 630 schools damaged, the government had moved with speed to ensure that they are opened, with temporary mobile classrooms provided where needed.

KwaZulu-Natal, Zikalala said, had suffered three major blows recently: Covid-19,  the July 2021 social unrest and the floods.

He said the floods had affected more than 826 companies, according to a survey by the department of trade & industry.  The cost to companies is in the region of R7bn.

More than 100 electrical substations had been severely affected in eThekwini but on Thursday, Zikalala announced that  all the high-voltage power stations had been restored while work was continuing on the medium to low voltage substations.

He said officials were moving with speed to restore a substation in the Mariann Ridge, west of Durban, which is expected to be completed in two weeks.

At least R30m was needed to fix the water-treatment plant in oThongathi, according to the metro's engineers. This was likely to take a few months.

“As an interim solution the eThekwini metro has intensified the provision of additional water tankers and more static tanks will be added. There are also boreholes and packaged plants provided by NGOs,” said Zikalala.

Water supply had improved in eThekwini where most taps had run dry, with supply at 75%-80%. “There is still a challenge in some areas,” said Zikalala.

About 199 water tankers have been deployed in eThekwini as an interim measure. Boreholes and static tanks were being used in some areas.

The supply of water in Ntuzuma and surrounds was listed as a major challenge which has forced the municipality to ration water. There are 188 water tankers deployed in eThekwini.

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