POST BUDGET SPEECH REMARKS BY MEC HLOMUKA STATEMENT BY HON. S E HLOMUKA
KZN MEC FOR COGTA
MAYVILLE: 11 MAY 2022
Ladies and gentlemen of the media
Thank you for availing yourselves for this media briefing. Just yesterday, we presented in the Provincial Legislature KZN Cogta’s 2022/2023 annual budget of R1.8 billion under the theme “Turning the corner in KZN municipalities: Fostering peaceful and sustainable communities through the delivery of basic services”. I would like to take this opportunity to take you through its highlights and some of the latest development in the province’s response following the flood disaster that struck our province.
The Budget is structured against the background of the still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the recent devastating floods as well as the department’s mandate of providing hands-on support to the province’s municipalities and traditional institutions. As such, it is an occasion to present not only a set of tangible deliverables for 2022/2023, but a vision for our local government and traditional institutions as we begin to rebuild post-Covid-19 and after the latest floods and realise our ultimate goal of a better local government.
KZN floods: The aftermath
The devastation suffered during the recent floods is difficult to comprehend: 445 lives were lost (386 eThekwini, 31 Ilembe, 7 Ugu, 4 King Cetshwayo, 3 Harry Gwala, 2 uMgungundlovu, 2 uMzinyathi) 48 people still unaccounted for, 77,600 lives severely disrupted, 7286 homes destroyed, 12062 homes partially destroyed, and R25-billion (with assessments still underway) incurred in damages to both public and private infrastructure across the province.
So far disaster management teams have conducted 748 search operations and conducted over 168 rescues.
As a coordinating department, we at KZN COGTA have been at the forefront of efforts to mitigate the impact of the floods on our communities and businesses. With the national Cabinet declaring a national state of disaster, we have amassed significant resources, some of which are already being deployed on the ground to help those most in need of assistance: water tankers, emergency shelters, food parcels or technical and medical assistance.
Disaster Management teams are still on the ground and continue to province support for relief purposes and are searching for the missing.
The deployment of the South African National Defence Force has helped these efforts greatly.
We wish to once more commend the brave men and women that form the search and rescue teams (SANDF, Police Search and Rescue, Disaster Management Officials) for their bravery during the most difficult time the province has ever faced.
The Provincial Executive, Inter-ministerial Sub-Committee on Disasters continues to meet and get updates on the relief and rebuilding efforts.
The floods destroyed critical infrastructure that brings water, electricity and sanitation to many communities.
Technical teams from our municipalities have been working around the clock to restore the supply of these services to communities.
Members of the Executive Council led by the Premier Sihle Zikalala were joined by Mayors and Councillors in leading relief efforts in communities that are affected.
On Saturday, Premier Zikalala visited the Othongathi community, which is one of the most affected areas in terms of the interruption of services such as water.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee is working closely with the eThekwini Metro to ensure that an effective solution is found to the water challenges faced by communities
Overview of the extent of water supply restored in eThekwini 09 May 2022
• Inner West Region: Supply to this region has improved from 30% to 85%
• Outer West Region: Supply to this region has improved from 45% to 70%
• Central Region: Supply to this region has improved from 45% to 80%
• South Region: Supply to this region has improved from 15% to 80%
• North Region: Supply to this region has improved from 40% to 45%
Risk of water contamination
The infrastructure damages owing to recent torrential rains pose a risk of the contamination of water sources such as rivers.
As restoration of water has progressed in most areas focus will now be on the protection of water resources to minimize deterioration.
Most water resources (rivers) in eThekwini District have been found to have a significantly high percentage of water contaminants (mainly E.Coli) due to raw sewer spillages owing to water treatment works infrastructure damages.
This increases the risk of a potential outbreak of waterborne diseases eg Cholera, Hepatitis, Typhoid Fever etc.
We are appealing to communities to exercise extreme caution when dealing with water from rivers.
Provision of support for shelters
The province has 98 shelters which are housing people that have been severely affected by the floods. These shelters continue to get support from government institutions such as SASSA and social partners.
Clean up campaigns
Clean up campaigns are ongoing within the affected communities, EPWP workers have been roped in by municipalities to ensure that the cleaning up process is accelerated.
Members of the army are also assisting with clean up efforts.
Overview of our performance in 2021/2022
Yesterday we presented our department’s Budget, having as a department achieved a second clean audit in a row for the 2020/2021 financial year. In 2021 we were also able to deliver, in coordination with the IEC, successful Local Government Elections on 1 November 2021 which ushered in a new term of local government. Last year, we also conducted the latest review of the state of KZN municipalities focusing on three key performance areas, namely governance and administration, financial viability and management, and basic service delivery.
Review of the state of local government in KZN
We will conduct another fully-fledged assessment of the state of local government in all 54 municipalities in KZN in September 2022. The results of this fresh assessment will create a new yardstick to determine whether the support provided by us is having the desired impact on the performance of municipalities.
Dealing with coalition municipalities
We will be setting up conflict management mechanisms to ensure that coalition municipalities are stable. We will engage the Minister of COGTA to consider augmenting policy and legislation to cater for the stability of coalition municipalities in future.
Deployment of additional champions to municipalities
In 2022/2023 we will deploy additional Local Government Champions to all municipalities, including those in distress. These new deployees will be supported by professional experts in the fields of finance, governance and engineering. Currently, there are five Local Government Champions responsible for 10 districts plus one metro.
A new approach to municipal interventions
We recognise the need for alternative steps to constitutional interventions to induce compliance by municipalities with their executive obligations. To this end, we will be liaising with the Minister of COGTA to fast-track the promulgation of the Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Interventions Bill which, inter alia, provides guidelines on the appointment of administrators when intervening in municipalities.
Implementing the KZN Provincial Water Master Plan
The KZN Provincial Water Master Plan is now guiding all our municipalities in their annual planning, prioritising and budgeting for their water needs. The master plan is now also intensifying our monitoring of planning and progress made by all Water Services Authorities with monthly and quarterly reviews to put KZN on a path to sustainable development.
Expanding and enhancing EPWP to 1000 job opportunities
Our successes in the management of the Expanded Public Works Programme and internships have resulted in a decision to further expand these opportunities to ensure that youth and women, in particular, are afforded as many job opportunities as possible. This expansion will create an additional 1000 job opportunities for the next two years.
Disaster risk reduction in informal settlements
We have identified veld and shack fires as one of the hazards with a disproportionately high number of incidents and fatalities in the province. These incidents also often destroy the environment, property and agricultural sector, thus affecting livelihoods and the economy. From 2022/2023 onwards, we will through the Provincial Disaster Management Centre proactively embark on a fire safety programme focused on informal settlements and rural areas.
Early disaster warning system for the province
We will in 2022/2023 procure and install an integrated communication and information management system for disaster management in the Provincial Disaster Management Centre at Mkondeni. This is a multi-year project that will involve both hardware and software and its purpose will be to receive early disaster warnings and feed this information to other stakeholders, including municipalities.
Disaster Management Summit
In light of the recent floods, we must embark on a serious conversation among all critical role players to identify root causes and draft mitigation plans to avoid a repetition of the recent devastation inflicted upon our communities and infrastructure. To this end, a Disaster Management Summit will be convened in due course to formulate watertight solutions to the challenges KZN is facing as a result of climate change.
Improving KZN’s coordinated response to disasters
The knowledge we gain from our partnerships in the fight against climate change must be matched by investments into an improved coordinated response to disasters at the provincial level. To be able to provide such a response consistently, our existing disaster management structures will require the most up-to-date technology and we will be approaching the Provincial Government for adequate funding in this regard as soon as we have quantified our needs.
A new approach to dealing with the killings of amakhosi
Amakhosi themselves have cited longstanding succession disputes as one of the major contributors towards the killings of senior traditional leaders. In response to this, we will ensure that hereditary successions are concluded within 90 days after the need arises for the positions to be filled in line with customary law.
Finalisation of the status of uMzimkhulu
When uMzimkhulu was incorporated into KZN in 2005, many persons claimed to be amakhosi. Several disputes ensued. While some of these matters are still in courts, we will, during 2022/2023, do our utmost best to finalise the status of ubukhosi in uMzimkhulu by submitting all outstanding claims to the newly established provincial Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims, transforming the current traditional authorities in the area into proper Traditional Councils, and commencing with the construction of offices for the Traditional Councils throughout uMzimkhulu.
The Budget we presented to the Provincial Legislature yesterday comes with a solid set of tangible deliverables for the 2022/2023 financial year but also for a time beyond when we begin to group and rebuild our municipalities, their local economies and our traditional institutions after the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
I thank you!