KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, says substantial progress has been made in restoring water and power supply in areas affected by the recent floods.
“The Inner West Region is almost 90% restored. The Outer West Supply has improved from 45% to 95%. The Central Region has improved from 45% to 85%. The South Region has improved from 15% to 85%, while the North Region supply has moved from 15% to 60%,” Zikalala said on Tuesday at a briefing.
Zikalala expressed his gratitude to the Gift of the Givers foundation, which has donated 14 boreholes, with 11 already having been drilled.
However, the Premier noted that while the restoration of water and electricity has reached over 90% overall, there remains a number of hotspots in the province.
“In Ilembe, KwaDukuza Water has no supply to the power generation plant due to plant repairs and this is affecting Shakaville and Lindelani. Mbozamo is still on the operating rule of closing water at night,” Zikalala said.
The Premier reported that the construction and restoration work on uThongathi Water Treatment Works is expected to take up to four months, with completion in September this year. He said a budget of at least R30 million has been allocated.
eThekwini Municipality, Zikalala reported, has availed a number of mobile and static water tankers (for self-collection) to service affected communities.
Reviving the economy
With regard to the development of flight routes, Zikalala said the province’s recovery plans have been severely hampered by the recent closing down of British Airways and Kulula.
He, however, welcomed the report by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs — under MEC Ravi Pillay — that hotel occupancy rates are gaining traction and recovering from the recent floods.
Zikalala assured that water challenges at King Shaka International Airport have been addressed and long-term plans are in place to increase water supply through boreholes to insure against any future emergency.
Repairs are also underway to key attractions such as the Mandela Capture Site, the two world heritage sites – Howick Falls and the beachfront – as part of the recovery and reconstruction process.
“The Bayhead Road repairs are progressing very well, with the execution of earthworks now in full throttle. Bluff Road is being used for fuel cargo in the interim, and we are pleased to note that the container terminal has addressed its entire backlog and has released 100% of the delayed imported cargo,” the Premier said.
With regard to rail infrastructure, Zikalala said the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has announced plans to resume the Umlazi service line on 1 September and KwaMashu line on 9 September 2022.
Cell phone networks, Vodacom and MTN, which were affected by the floods, have also reported that over 80% of damaged infrastructure is now back in operation.
However, the Premier said the telecommunications sector has raised its concerns about ongoing vandalism of its infrastructure, and the repair of roads and electricity supply to speed up the restoration of communication services.
On support for business, the Premier announced that the provincial Economic Development and Environmental Affairs Department is leading the provision of funding to 394 businesses that have applied for assistance, which is currently valued at R196 million.
“The applications are mainly from companies in the agriculture, services and manufacturing sectors,” said Zikalala.
Zikalala said damage to KZN transport infrastructure from the recent floods amounts to R6 billion, including the M4 and R102.
He reported that the South African National Defence Force is installing bailey bridges, while the KZN Department of Transport (DOT) is leading a massive project called Valamapotholes (patching potholes programme), working together with municipalities.
“In the medium-term, 730 key projects have been approved throughout the province to be implemented through emergency procurement, which includes the closure of potholes and repairs to damaged roads. KZN DOT has submitted 49 bridge sites to the national Department of Public Works for consideration for the bailey bridges programme.
“The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is assisting households and farmers with regard to soil testing services, provision of lime, fertilisers, tools, fencing, water tanks, re-gravelling and repairing damaged roads and the construction of culverts. The objective is to resuscitate livestock operations on affected farms and support sugar cane, and the implementation of biosecurity measures,” Zikalala said.