South Africa

Concern over flood relief efforts

The Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery has raised concern about lack of coordination and integrated plans to resolve the housing needs of people displaced by the floods.

The committee held a meeting with the departments of Social Development, Transport, Small Business Development and Public Enterprises, to gain an understanding of the extent of the support provided by government to the affected provinces and municipalities. This to assist communities severely affected by the floods, which battered parts of the country in April.

During a meeting on Thursday, the committee was informed of the inhumane conditions at some of the shelters, where children, women and men all sleep in one place, which poses a risk, as women and children are vulnerable to all kind of hazards, including gender-based violence (GBV).

The committee has asked the Department of Social Development to furnish it with a consolidated report on all donor funding received from various countries, including the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

Committee Chairpersons, Cedric Frolick and Jomo Nyambi said the committee was unhappy about the slow delivery of temporary residential units (TRUs), noting that this makes it difficult to address the housing backlog and results in the shelters being used for longer than expected.

“The committee wants the Department of Human Settlements to accelerate the provision of TRUs, with the understanding that they are not a permanent solution, but only a temporary measure,” the two chairpersons said.

The committee also noted the detailed focus on KwaZulu-Natal in the Department of Transport’s report, however, a similar level of detail was lacking about the Eastern Cape and the North West.

The committee said it expects the department to come back with a more detailed report on the interventions in the two provinces.

The committee further raised its dissatisfaction with the lack of detailed information from the Department of Small Business Development’ presentation on the disbursement of relief funds to beneficiaries.

It said it is concerned that the lack of details might lead to marginalised people not benefiting from the relief funds.

The committee said the applications for relief funds only opened in July, four months after the April floods.

“This reflects that there was no sense of urgency to respond to the declaration of a national state of disaster,” the chairpersons said.

Meanwhile, the committee commended the report that the Port of Durban has been restored to full functionality, which has reconnected the country to the international trade economy.

It also welcomed the report that Transnet has entered into an agreement with eThekwini Municipality for the upkeep of the Montclair Lodge in Yellowwood Park, which is currently housing flood victims. – SAnews.gov.za