The Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery welcomed the progress it described as significant that has been made by both KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Provincial Government and the City of Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipality on their disaster relief interventions to areas that were affected by April floods this year.
The committee has appreciated the province for its consistent reporting with regard to its disaster relief activities. The committee has also recognized that the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality has done much to resolve processes around disaster relief including reducing the number of shelters; providing additional Temporary Residential Units and making available additional parcels of land to rural areas.
The committee is in the KZN province on a three-day oversight visit to assess, among other things, progress on the interventions made by the provincial government and municipalities, especially in the areas that were severely affected by the April floods. It received updates today from the provincial government and eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.
The committee remains concerned, however, with the slow roll-out of human settlements in the province and understands that this may be due to slowness in tender processes. Furthermore, the issue of water and sanitation remains a crisis point in the city as noted in media reports about the state of the city’s rivers. The committee noted that approximately 80% of the city’s sewer plants are dysfunctional, resulting in large volumes of untreated sewer flowing into rivers and oceans.
The committee wants the city to provide it with a definite deadline by when repairs at the Tongaat Water Treatment Plant will be completed. The committee heard that the delay in completing the repairs to the plant has deprived the Tongaat community and surrounding areas of access to water.
Also, the committee highlighted its concern about the fact that there is no one taking responsibility for repairs of the roads between the province and the municipality. This has far reaching implications on transport costs for the people living in communities near Shongweni who end up paying more transport fees as a result of using alternative roads.
The committee also welcomed the presentation from the Council on Geoscience which emphasised science as a basis for decision-making on infrastructure development in government. The committee supports the council’s proposal that geotechnical studies must be a pre-requisite for infrastructure development
The committee will continue with its oversight visit tomorrow by conducting follow-up site visits to previously visited areas around Ugu District Municipality in Port Shepstone.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.