THREE WOMEN RESCUED AS UMFOLOZI BURST ITS BANKS, RESIDENTS URGED TOSEEK HIGHER GROUND

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has dispatched disaster management teams to Mtubatuba where the local uMfolozi river has burst its banks threatening residents in the surrounding settlements.

This afternoon rescue personnel responded to an incident where three women who were farming were cut off by rising waters of the uMfolozi River. A speedy response by rescue teams ensured that the women were brought to safety by boat.

Hlomuka has urged residents living along the banks of the uMfolozi river to seek higher ground as water levels are expected to increase further. “We are in contact with our teams on the ground and we urge residents living next to the river to seek shelter on higher ground. Our teams are on high alert in this area and will intervene timeously should the need arise,” said Hlomuka.

The contact numbers of KZN’s District Disaster Management Centres are as follows:

 

Ugu District 039 682 2414
uMgungundlovu District 033 343 1719
uThukela District 086 010 4257
uMzinyathi District 034 212 2222
Amajuba District 034 329 7200
Zululand District 035 870 1128/1130
uMkhanyakude District 080 011 7770/035 573 1647
King Cetshwayo District 086 100 3473/035 787 2698
Ilembe District 032 437 9379/1
Harry Gwala District 039 834 0070
eThekwini Metro 031 361 0000

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THE KZN PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ON RECENT DISASTER INCIDENTS AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS

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The Provincial Executive Council of KwaZulu-Natal held its ordinary meeting on Wednesday, 13 November 2019.

The Provincial Executive received a preliminary report on the recent disaster incidents that have cut a swathe of destruction in various parts of the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Since October 2019, the province of KwaZulu-Natal has been experiencing extreme weather conditions, triggering severe thunderstorms, lightning strikes, gale-force winds and heavy downpours which have wreaked havoc across the province. They have caused fatalities, injuries and inflicted major damage to households and public infrastructure.

These horrific disaster incidents were largely experienced in areas such as eThekwini, Abaqulusi, Jozini, uMgungundlovu, uMzinyathi, Ilembe, Harry Gwala, uThukela. The Provincial Executive noted that the report remains provisional at this stage, as detailed assessments to quantify the damage are still work in progress, with the latest recorded tornado incident.

The summary of the impact of the disaster incidents since October are as follows:

 

  • 798 households were affected
  • 14 fatalities have been reported, excluding the latest uMshwathi incident (assessments still ongoing)
  • 19 injuries

uMshwathi Tornado

The Provincial Executive noted that the most dramatic weather-related incident took place yesterday at New Hanover (specifically in Thokozani and Mpolweni) in the Mshwathi local municipality, just outside Pietermaritzburg. Here a tornado ripped through the area, injuring scores of people and damaging homes and public infrastructure.

It was a frightening sight! Captured on video, the footage of the tornado swirling through the KZN countryside became viral in no time. It also bears testimony to the rapidly changing climate in our province and country.

The Provincial Executive extends message of condolences to the family of Sphelele Ndlovu (40) who passed away after a house collapsed on her as well as Nonhlanhla Buthelezi (64) who passed away after a tree was uprooted by the tornado and collapsed the entire house on her.

The Provincial Executive also wished the 18 people who were injured and are receiving medical attention from various health facilities a speedy recovery.

Disaster relief efforts

 In response to the tornado, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala, together with the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka and the MEC for Finance Ravi Pillay, as well as the Mayors of uMgungundlovu and uMshwathi Municipalities, today visited the affected areas and the deceased families to lead relief efforts and commence mop-up operations.

The Preliminary Report received by the Provincial Executive indicates that huge damage has been inflicted on infrastructure, with several homes having roofs blown away and others having completely collapsed. Some roads have been washed away, while countless trees have been uprooted, with interruptions to the electricity supply.

Disaster teams remain on the ground and are working hard to provide support to the affected communities. The Government will provide a co-ordinated response through various departments impacted, such as Human Settlements, Transport, Social Development, Education, Health, Public Works and municipalities, with Cogta as a coordinating department.

Relief efforts are being marshalled through the Joint Operations Centre that has been set up and to date food, blankets, mattresses and other urgent necessities have been provided.  Most public facilities, such as churches and community halls, are being used to house those displaced by the violent storms.

The estimated damage will be known once the full assessments have been concluded but the damages are estimated to run into millions of rand. As the assessments continue, figures continue to change as new homes are being added to the list.

The Government welcomes support from various NGOs and private sector institutions willing to partner and volunteer support to the affected communities

Issuance of documents to victims

The Department of Home Affairs will be assisting with the issuing of temporary IDs and certificates and all relevant documents to all affected family members who will undergo a thorough authentication process. SASSA and the Department of Education are also supporting the victims, including by ensuring that children get uniforms to go to school and that those busy with exams are adequately supported.

Drought Relief for livestock farmers

With the province of KwaZulu-Natal experiencing severe drought challenge, the Provincial Executive noted that this drought has negatively impacted on livestock and crop production. Farmers particularly in the Northern areas of KZN such as uMkhanyakude, Amajuba, uThukela, and Zululand are the most affected.

In order to lessen the burden and mitigate the impact of the drought the Provincial Executive resolved to inject an amount to the tune of R20million through the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.  This money is part of the emergency relief support:

  • R17 Million will be set aside to procure livestock feed;
  • R3million will go towards medicines and vaccinations;

Translocation of Black Rhinos to Malawi

Under the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, that seeks to ensure the survival of the endangered Black Rhinos and their limited genetic diversity, the Provincial Executive approved the programme by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife which has been trans-locating Black Rhinos to various countries for the last 13 years. This year, 2019, Ezemvelo is trans-locating  eighteen black Rhinos to Liwinde National Oark in Malawi. This trans-location is fully compliant with our strategy to preserve our biodiversity and sustain our comparative advantage as a province.  This is part of the Memorandum of Understanding that exists between South Africa and Malawi. The initiative has the blessing of the National Department of Environmental Affairs, Fisheries and Foresty through an MOU signed between SA and Malawi.

Religious sector, KZN Government in new partnership to fight resurgence of HIV/AIDS

The Provincial Executive Council has welcomed a pledge of support from the KwaZulu-Natal Council of Churches (KZNCC), which has vowed to lend its weight to curb the resurgence of HIV/Aids in the province.

The Government of KwaZulu-Natal is worried about the incidence of new HIV infections, particularly among women aged between 15 – 24.

The KZNCC made a presentation which outlined its multi-pronged strategy to stem the tide of new HIV/AIDS infections.

The strategy will focus on, among others, the following:

  • Projects and programmes to facilitate moral regeneration;
  • New economic opportunities to make girl-children more self-sufficient
  • A new and improved social cohesion programme
  • Opportunities to collaborate on economic opportunities for young people

 

Tomorrow, religious leaders will visit the disaster-hit area of Mpolweni in uMshwati Municipality, to provide support including psycho-spiritual healing, meeting with local churches and leaders.

Conclusion

The Provincial Executive commends the work that is being done by the emergency services and the selfless sacrifice of the teams working through the night in danger zones to assist the affected victims of the disaster incidents across the province.  The Provincial Executive assures affected communities that all the necessary support will be provided to the communities as they begin to piece together their lives again.

At the same time, all residents of KwaZulu-Natal are requested to heed the weather and travel advisories issued by the South African Weather Service and their local authorities. The weather forecast at this point indicates heavy rains tomorrow and during Friday.

The Provincial Executive has also commend the leadership of the Premier and MECs who in light of this disaster and the scale of the devastation to the lives of our fellow citizens, delayed the Executive Council to lead relief efforts and mounted a spirited response to this tragedy.

We ask our good Lord to grant comfort to the victims and their families at this time of grief and may the souls of all those departed fellow citizens rest in peace!

 

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MEDIA STATEMENT: KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA PLACES DISASTER MANAGEMENT TEAMS ON STANDBY WITH SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS EXPECTED IN LARGE PARTS OF KZN

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MEDIA STATEMENT: KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA PLACES DISASTER MANAGEMENT TEAMS ON STANDBY WITH SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS EXPECTED IN LARGE PARTS OF KZN 

10 November 2019

KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka has placed disaster management teams on high alert following reports received from the South African Weather Service which indicate a strong possibility of severe thunderstorms that could lead to localised flooding in large parts of the province.

This warning comes at a time when the province recently lost four lives in a lightning strike in Mkhuze in northern KZN. Hlomuka has urged residents across the province to be cautious as bad weather still poses a serious danger to communities.

“Our disaster management teams are on standby in areas that are prone to flooding and they will be monitoring the situation. We have full confidence in our teams’ ability to provide the necessary support should the need arise,” said Hlomuka.

The department is urging residents to be cautious, especially motorists and pedestrians. “Our province has lost many lives to lightning strikes and flooding and we are calling on pedestrians to ensure that they do not cross walkways or bridges that are prone to flooding. Those with livestock are urged to first seek shelter at the slightest indication of lightning,” said Hlomuka.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila 082 474 1882

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kzncogta

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kzncogta

Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

 

Ends.

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KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA URGES THE PUBLIC TO USE WATER SPARINGLY IN LIGHT OF WORSENING WATER SHORTAGES

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka is appealing to residents of the province’s municipalities to use water sparingly in light of the fast decreasing water levels in many of KZN’s dams.

“We are once again urging members of the public to conserve water to ensure that our taps do not run dry. The water situation in KZN is showing signs of strain with several dams recording fast decreasing water levels,” said Hlomuka.

KZN Cogta has dispatched teams of infrastructure specialists to the most affected municipalities to advise on water management issues. The department is monitoring water levels across the province closely.

KZN has previously experienced a devastating drought between 2015 and 2017. The public response to water restrictions imposed by the most affected municipalities during this time was exemplary and it did not go unnoticed by the government.

“Currently the water shortages appear to be at their worst in the Ugu district, Zululand, Mkhanyakude and Uthukela where KZN Cogta is concentrating its resources, both human and financial.

The residents of Ugu are urged to conserve water and follow advisories issued by the government,” said Hlomuka.

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KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA CONVENES MEETING WITH KZN MAYORS, CALLS FOR LOWER COST OF SECURITY IN MUNICIPALITIES

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka today convened an ordinary Munimec which is a forum where the MEC for Cogta meets with all the 54 municipalities and municipal administrators to reflect on the performance of the sphere of local government in relation to set priorities and also take cognizance of the new policy developments impacting on the local government sector.

        Hefty private protection bills

Addressing the mayors and administrators, Hlomuka reflected on the increase in demand for personal security from councillors and officials. The MEC appealed to municipalities to ensure that proper processes are being followed in providing security to elected representatives in municipalities. This, according to Hlomuka, ought to lower the cost of security services in municipalities.

“Currently many municipalities incur hefty bills for the provision of security for elected representatives. While we note the importance of safety of public representatives, including officials, and it is not our desire to compromise it where real threats exist, the current practice is unsustainable. We believe that proper processes need to be followed without compromising the security of elected representatives,” said Hlomuka.

Other key issues discussed at the Munimec meeting include:

        Progress on the municipal turnaround strategy

The Munimec received a progress report on the implementation of the municipal turnaround strategy, which emanates from the assessment of the state of local government in the province. There has been a huge improvement in the filling of vacant posts at a political level in the municipalities. The meeting noted the continuing efforts by the department to address the unfunded budgets in municipalities.

        Debt owed to Eskom by municipalities

Hlomuka has also expressed his concern with the increasing debt owed to KZN municipalities by consumers which now sits at R20.1-billion. “The monies owed to municipalities are also compromising their financial viability and their ability to render services to our communities. This has compromised the ability of municipalities to settle their debt to Eskom which now sits at R2.2-billion,” said Hlomuka.

“Many of our mayors and municipal managers will be aware of the efforts we at Cogta have made assist indebted municipalities with their payment plans. We are also actively assisting municipalities in their negotiations with Eskom and we have provided legal advice and assistance in several cases where this became necessary,” said Hlomuka.

The Munimec appeals to anyone who is owing municipalities to pay up since those who are defaulting often include people who prioritise luxuries such as DSTV and airtime overpaying for essential municipal services, such as water and electricity. The meeting resolved that enforcement measures must be taken against defaulters urgently.

        Voter address harvesting by the IEC and ward delimitation process ahead of the 2021 local government elections

The meeting noted the presentation by the KZN IEC Provincial Chair Ntombifuthi Masinga who thanked the municipalities for the support they have provided to the IEC in its voter address-harvesting programme. The initiative aims to ensure that people who are on the voters’ roll have their physical address details reflected on it. Currently, in KZN there are 219 692 people who do not have their addresses reflected in the voters’ roll.

The Munimec encourages those that have not submitted their address to the IEC to visit their offices nearest to them as this threatens their ability to vote in the 2021 elections.

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KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA SENDS CONDOLENCES TO FAMILIES OF FOUR PEOPLE KILLED BY LIGHTNING IN NORTHERN KZN

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has expressed his condolences to the families of four people that lost their lives during severe thunderstorms that took place this weekend in the Mkhanyakude District. 

 

The victims are believed to have been struck by lightning during this weekend’s thunderstorms, which affected the areas of Mkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo and Mzinyathi District. 

 

“We express our heartfelt condolences to the families and communities of the two victims in Mkhuze and one in KwaNondabuya and kwaBiva, all these places are under the Jozini Local Municipality. We are aware that four other people are in critical condition and our prayers are with them and their loved ones,” said Hlomuka.

 

Hlomuka has deployed disaster management teams to provide much-needed assistance to the affected families. The MEC has also urged residents across the province to be cautious more especially as inclement weather conditions continue to wreak havoc.

 

“This is the start of summer disaster season that has in the past devastated communities across KZN. The occurrence of natural disasters is becoming more frequent due to climate change and we at KZN Cogta are ramping up our capacity to respond to disasters accordingly,” said Hlomuka.

 

Residents must follow the latest weather forecasts and take the necessary precautions to minimise harm to themselves and those around them. The department’s disaster management teams are ready to respond to all reported incidents in the province.

 

The following people lost their lives:

  1. Mthembu Mxolisi (Male )– 14 years – Biva area, ward 6
  2. Nhlakanipho Ndlovu(male) – 33- Mhlekazi area , ward 1 (incident of mkuze town)
  3. Dlamini (Male ) -19 years , Nondabuya area, ward 19
  4. Bheki Zulu – Bhanganoma area,under Nongoma Municipality ( incident of mkuze town )

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403 or Senzelwe Mzila 082 474 1882.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kzncogta

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kzncogta

Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

End.

 

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MEDIA STATEMENT: KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA MOURNS PASSING OF FIVE JOZINI MUNICIPAL STAFF MEMBERS IN TRAGIC N2 ACCIDENT

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KZN MEC for Cooperative and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has expressed his heartfelt condolences to the Jozini local municipality and the families of the employees who lost their lives in an accident that took place in Mtubatuba on Saturday.

According to reports received by the department, five Jozini staff members perished during an accident when the minibus they were travelling in collided with a sugar cane truck on the N2 outside Mtubatuba. They were returning from a ‘Work and Play’ district sports event held at Mtubatuba when the accident occurred at about 7.30pm at Mfekayi near Mganwini.

“As the sphere of local government, we are saddened by this tragic loss of life. To lose five officials in such a manner as this is really heart-breaking. Their loss leaves a huge void in this municipality,” said Hlomuka.

MEC Hlomuka has also expressed his condolences to the Ndlamlenze Traditional Community in the Amajuba district following the passing of Inkosi Zwelifile Piet Nzima (69) following a short illness on Friday, 18 October.

“The passing of Inkosi Nzima has dealt a huge blow to the institution of traditional leadership within our province. Inkosi Nzima was a fountain of wisdom to the younger amakhosi on issues pertaining to traditional leadership. He was a strong proponent of development and through his leadership, a number of service delivery projects were implemented within his communities,” said Hlomuka.

“As the provincial government, we have lost a reliable partner who worked together with both local and provincial government in order to see his community benefiting from developmental initiatives,” added Hlomuka.

Hlomuka has dispatched senior officials from the department to support and assist the family of Inkosi Nzima during this difficult time.

Ends.

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WATER REPRIEVE ON THE HORIZON FOR MTIKINI AND SKHEMELELE RESIDENTS IN UMKHANYAKUDE DISTRICT

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The water shortages for Skhemelele and Mtikini communities in Ward 6, 9, 13 and 16 of the uMhlabuyalingana local municipality, under the uMkhanyakude district in the far north of KwaZulu-Natal, will soon be a thing of the past thanks to a R30-million water project.

These were the words of assurance given to hundreds of community members by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka yesterday.

The MEC together with the uMkhanyakude district Mayor, Cllr Mkhombo, had travelled to the area to introduce uMhlathuze Water as the implementing agents for an ambitious bulk water project dubbed the Skhemelele and Mtikini Water Scheme.

The Scheme, which is being constructed on an emergency basis due to dire water situation in the area, is expected to be completed by March 2020.

It will supply water directly to households in areas such as Sikhemelele and Mtikini which have, in recent times, been affected by service delivery protests due to frustration over the non-delivery of water. Hlomuka visited this area in July to attend to the service delivery concerns of residents.

Addressing the community, MEC Hlomuka said: “When we visited the community to quell service delivery protests earlier this year, we made a solemn undertaking to expeditiously address the very legitimate concerns raised by the community of water scarcity. We then mandated uMhlathuze Water to hasten the delivery of metered water to the area.”

The Scheme involves the construction of a 200mm diameter connection to the outlet of the existing reservoir at the Shemula Water Treatment Works which is operated and maintained by uMhlathuze Water as well as the construction of 1 200 metered yard connections to households in the identified areas.

UMkhanyakude Mayor, Cllr Mkhombo said whilst the municipality would not deviate from its policy of granting free 6 kilolitres of water a month, residents should be prepared to pay for any additional water consumed.

UMhlathuze Water Chief Executive, Mthokozise Duze, said uMhlathuze Water, because of its existing infrastructure in the area, would in certain instances undertake refurbishments to its pumps and reservoirs.

“We have hit the ground running. Our consultant has already finalised the mapping of the area and we recently appointed a contractor to begin with the work. Beyond completing the Scheme in March next year, we have also undertaken to operate and maintain it for a period of twelve months or until the municipality is adequately capacitated to take over,” Duze concluded.

 

 

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KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA HANDS OVER R13-MILLION WORTH OF PLANT EQUIPMENT TO SPEED UP SERVICE DELIVERY

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka, who is also the Harry Gwala District political champion under Operation Sukuma Sakhe, today handed over R13-million worth of plant equipment to assist the Harry Gwala district family of municipalities with service delivery.

Hlomuka hailed the handover of plant equipment, which comprises of two TLBs, two walk-behind rollers, three honey sucker trucks, two water tankers, one smooth roller, one refuse truck and one grader, as a groundbreaking initiative that will ensure that the district is better able to deliver services to its deep rural areas.

“Through the handover of this equipment, we are responding, as the Provincial Government, to the needs of our municipalities, following an earlier assessment where we visited all municipalities to identify areas of need. This exercise proved to be fruitful and through it we came up with Operation Khawuleza whereby we handover plant equipment which saves municipalities millions of rand as they no longer need to hire this equipment,” said Hlomuka.

Harry Gwala District Mayor, Cllr Zamo Nxumalo, on behalf of all the municipalities under the district, thanked Hlomuka for prioritising this district and helping it to benefit from this intervention. “We are happy with the equipment that we have been given. It will help us with maintaining roads and other key infrastructure that brings water and sanitation,” said Nxumalo.

Nxumalo also hailed the savings that they are going to make through this programme, as they no longer need to hire the equipment.

Hlomuka also met community members at the Morning side sports grounds in Ixopo, ward 4 of the uBuhlebezwe local municipality, where he officially handed over the equipment to the Mayors.

Noleen Mdladla, who resides in Morning Side, says the provision of this equipment is something that she is excited about and looks forward to this equipment to fixing potholes and delivering water in rural areas in the District.

“The help that is being given to the municipalities in our district is much welcome. Many of the areas here are deep rural areas that still need access roads. The graders that we see before us today will ensure the needs of our communities are taken care of,” said Mdladla.

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KZNCOGTA MEC HLOMUKA CONDEMNS MURDER OF MSINGA COUNCILLOR

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has condemned the cold-blooded murder of Khaya Sithole who served as ward 1 councillor in the Msinga municipality and who was gunned down in full glare of the public shortly after attending a council event on Thursday evening.

“We condemn this heinous act in the strongest language and we express our heartfelt condolences to the family and constituents of the slain councillor. We also urge the community of Msinga to remain calm and allow the law enforcement agencies to investigate this incident without delay,” said Hlomuka.

Preliminary information indicates that the slain councillor was participating in a municipal event when unknown assailants fired a hail of bullets on him. KZN Cogta is urging the police to leave no stone unturned in apprehending the perpetrators of this crime and in bringing them to justice speedily.

“We have consistently spoken out against violence perpetrated against public representatives in this province and we will continue to do so. Violence is never the answer. Violence must be tackled with the full might of the law and this is what we all expect to happen now. We are more saddened to learn that the councillor was murdered with his boots on while working to advance the course of service to his community”’ said Hlomuka.

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