Millions of rands for storm damage remain unspent – DA KZN

Party demands answers, says MEC Nkonyeni must urgently intervene in this matter

DA calls for answers as millions of rands for KZN storm damage remain unspent

20 November 2019

The Democratic Alliance will call for answers from KwaZulu-Natal Human Settlements MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni following the discovery that despite R342 million having been made available to the province for storm damage, the vast majority remains unspent.

The monies, allocated during 2017 and again in early 2019, were specifically to fix storm damaged houses in the province. The finding forms part of a Disaster Report, (view here) presented to KZN’s Human Settlements Portfolio Committee late last month. It also comes as numerous residents living in informal settlements and RDP houses remain homeless after heavy rains hit the province recently.

The DA is extremely alarmed by the situation. As the province now reviews the cost of damage from poor weather during the last few weeks, it is shocking to discover that this so-called caring government has not yet assisted people rendered homeless by storms in 2017.

According to the same report, the Ugu District Municipality and eThekwini Metro appear to be the main culprits, with both municipalities giving various excuses, including claims of difficulties in appointing contractors.

In 2018, R100 million was paid to KZN by the National Government to deal with storm damage from as far back as 2017. Of this, R53 773 m was for the reconstruction of 250 houses and 160 temporary structures in Ugu. Yet, to date, this Municipality has only spent R3 million. Work has however apparently started at 39 sites in Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, at 15 in uMuziwabantu, another 8 in uMzumbe and 15 in uMdoni.

At the same time, R46 227 m was allocated for repair and reconstruction of houses in eThekwini while a further R693 million was made available to the Metro to deal with various storm disasters, to be spread out over 3 years. This funding was allocated as follows;

R46.2 million for 2018\2019

247 million for 2019\2020 and;

R400 million for 2020\2021

However, given that the R46.2 m for 2018\2019 has not yet been utilised, the province cannot make the next instalment of R247 m available. This funding is supposed to be used for the construction of 1 403 houses.

Following the more recent storms in the province during December 2018/ January 2019 the national government handed over R68.9 million for the construction of some 1 027 temporary units across KZN. This was aimed at the worst affected districts which included Ugu, Harry Gwala, uMgungundlovu, uThukela, Amajuba, uMzinjathi, Zululand, King Cetshawyo, Ilembe and uMkhanyakude.

To date, work has only begun on 28 temporary houses. This is 10 months later. While construction has begun on 15 houses in Zululand and uMkanyakude it remains incomplete. Meanwhile, uThukela has appointed a service provider to supply materials and construct 13 houses in eKuvukeni. The Department has directly supplied building materials to 1 566 beneficiaries however this distribution process has only recently begun.

The DA expects MEC Nkonyeni to urgently intervene in this matter. To begin with, the Mayors and City Managers of these municipalities must be held to account and must answer for the failure to spend this emergency funding. This is just one of the many reasons why the DA in KZN is called for the failed Ugu District Municipality to be placed under provincial administration and we urge the MEC to push for this in the interests of this community.

The DA will continue to expose government’s inability to properly manage relief funding. Those that require assistance from government must receive it timeously. The people of our province deserve better.

Issued by Martin MeyerDA KZN Spokesperson on Human Settlements, 20 November 2019