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Ramaphosa wants accommodation found sooner for KZN flood victims

25 July 2022 - 10:17
President Cyril Ramaphosa and KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala visit flood-ravaged areas of the province earlier this year.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala visit flood-ravaged areas of the province earlier this year.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants distressed families who have been housed in shelters after the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this year to be moved to more suitable accommodation as soon as possible.

He said this while addressing the ninth provincial elective conference in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.

Though Ramaphosa received a hostile reception from some of the pro-Zuma delegates, when he finally addressed them, he took the time to address important matters affecting the province, including the devastating floods.

“I know that there are many challenges that we still need to address in the wake of these floods. As we recover from the floods, our priority must be to find suitable accommodation for those people who are still in shelters,” he said.

“There are quite a number of our people who are still in shelters, who we still need to take care of.”

As the province rebuilds, Ramaphosa said it needs infrastructure that is resilient, housing that is structurally sound and well located from a spatial point of view, so that “we no longer build or allow our people to build on ground that is unstable and dangerous”.

“We now need to take this up as a major factor in our rebuilding process.”

He said a number of countries that were prone to earthquakes had taken care to ensure that when they rebuild they avoid exposing their people to areas that are dangerous.

“As we plan our cities and towns as well as rural areas, we should make sure that we build on areas that can withstand natural disasters.”

Ramaphosa said he wanted weaknesses in governance to be attended to and proper town planning — the processes of laying out where people should build, including where roads, schools and churches should be.

“When I came I found that in some of the areas churches and schools had collapsed. We need effective and capable government at all levels so that we can effect our planning a lot better.

“We also need, at the lowest level where people build houses and structures, well trained personnel who have the expertise to ensure that when we plan, we plan properly.”

Financial resources are also needed to rebuild houses and vital infrastructure, he said.

The continuous rise in the cost of living was already adding a burden to affected families, he said. “This province is still recovering from the catastrophic flooding that struck several regions here in April, causing tragic loss of life, the destruction of homes and extensive damage to property and infrastructure.”

He said this had followed earlier floods over the past couple of years, “which we were still trying to get to grips with”.

However, he added: “I do wish to commend the leadership of the provincial government and affected municipalities for the swift and empathetic response to the tragedy.”

When Ramaphosa visited KZN soon after the floods occurred, he said he found that the provincial and local government structures were already getting stuck in, helping people.

“I commend them and applaud them for the wonderful work they have been doing throughout this period ... I also wish to commend the ANC leadership from the province, down to the branches, for providing assistance and care to those communities hardest hit by the floods.”

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