South Africa: Committee Conducts Oversight Visit to KwaZulu-Natal

Parliament’s Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery has welcomed the progress of efforts made by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and eThekwini Municipality to bring relief to those affected by devastating floods which hit the province in April.

The committee is in the province to assess government interventions made to those communities after the April floods left hundreds dead and homes and infrastructure destroyed.

“The committee has appreciated the province for its consistent reporting with regard to its disaster relief activities. The committee has also recognised 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,” a Parliament statement read.

The statement raised concern, however, on what it described as the “slow roll-out of human settlements” and other challenges and implored the city to urgently address the issues.

“The committee… 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 statement read.

The committee is set to visit the Ugu District Municipality in Port Shepstone to follow up on efforts in that area.

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