Government making headway in restoring services

Deputy President David Mabuza says government has made headway in implementing recovery interventions in areas that were affected by the recent devastating floods.

The Deputy President said this when he responded to oral questions during a sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“As part of Phase 2 interventions, the government is making headway with stabilisation and recovery actions, including rehousing those who were displaced and restoring basic services.

“As previously mentioned, the Department of Water and Sanitation has established a Water and Sanitation War Room to assist the province's affected state organs, particularly the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, in restoring water services and addressing water and infrastructure-related challenges,” he said.

While the first phase of government’s response comprised rolling-out immediate humanitarian relief - ensuring that all affected people are safe and that their basic needs are met – the second phase is anchored on stabilisation and recovery.

This includes rehousing people who have lost their homes and restoring service provision.

“To this end, water supply restoration has progressed in many regions of eThekwini, with the exception of the Tongaat Supply System, which remains a major challenge.

“This is due to the critical water infrastructure badly destroyed. We are advised that the restoration of Tongaat Waterworks is expected to take 3 to 6 months to complete,” he said.

The Deputy President said since all affected people should be taken care of without losing a single day of their lives without basic necessities, the criticism that the processes have been slow is expected.

“However, the severity of the situation necessitates some time to fix.

“Even with all the difficulties we face, we want to apprise this House that affected municipalities and government departments have been conducting technical assessments of damage costs and recommending short, medium, and long-term measures since the floods.

“Last month, the national government received the coordinated response interventions and requested funds for both essential and emergency repairs, as well as long-term solutions to restore normalcy to the affected areas.

“The National Treasury has issued a directive outlining the public management and budgeting system that would be used in the event of a national disaster to guarantee that services to the impacted communities are not disrupted.”

The Deputy President said affected provincial departments and municipalities have already begun the process of reprioritising their budgets and submitting requests to the National Disaster Management Centre for the reallocation or repurposing of funds in conditional grants.

He said in this regard, the primary focus has been on humanitarian relief and emergency repairs of critical infrastructure such as water and waste management, electricity, roads and engineering infrastructure, as well as social services such as healthcare.

“We will continue to monitor and assist land identification processes by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, and rapid housing initiatives by the Department of Human Settlements; as well as the delivery of other necessary services to affected communities through Inter-Ministerial Committees.”

Source: South African Government News Agency