The National Disaster Management Centre in its latest Circular declared the September floods as a National Disaster for the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. “We are pleased with this declaration, as it now enables all three spheres of government to work together to fund and repair the damage left in the wake of the unprecedented rains experienced over the Heritage Day Long Weekend in September,” Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning said in response.
Minister Bredell said the disaster classification makes it possible for the provincial government to approach the National Disaster Management Centre for relief funds to support the work needed to recover and repair damages suffered to public infrastructure such as buildings, roads, bridges, and water networks.
The damage assessments for the September floods are calculated at R441 million for provincial infrastructure and a further R154million for municipal damages. “We will now request the National Disaster Management Centre to approach National Treasury with these numbers. There is no certainty on how much or when we will receive any support from the national government. The provincial government will reprioritise existing budgets and continue with our own recovery efforts as best we can,” Minister Bredell said.
According to the latest figures from the provincial Department of Infrastructure, only 22 roads remain closed as repairs are prioritised for roads that connect communities and roads that are vital for economic activity. In the aftermath of the floods, both the N1 and N2 were closed, together with more than 150 other roads.
The Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has so far received 238 applications to do emergency repairs in rivers and streams that under normal conditions would require lengthy environmental approvals. The department has already finalised 196 of these applications making use of Section 30A of the National Environmental Management Act, which allows for verbal approval in an emergency to carry out listed or specified activities to prevent or contain further damages to affected areas.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, South Africa.