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National State of Disaster on Severe Weather Events Declared

April 19, 2022

Department of Cooperative Governance

A national state of disaster on severe weather events has been declared.

The cooperative governance department announced the declaration in Government Gazette 46247 in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

According to the department, the decision was taken following consideration of the “magnitude and severity of the damage caused by the severe weather events occurring in various municipal areas of the KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and other provinces that resulted in the loss of life and damage to property, infrastructure and the environment caused by heavy rain, flooding, strong winds, landslides etc”.

In Notice 2028, the department confirmed the reclassification of the provincial disaster declared last week as a national disaster.

Dr Mmaphaka Tau, Head of the National Disaster Management Centre, after consultation with Provincial Disaster Management Centres, reassessment of the impact of the severe weather events and consideration of the information and recommendations received from the Provincial Disaster Management Centres, concluded that the “magnitude and severity of the disaster that was classified on 13 April 2022 as a provincial disaster is greater than the initial assessment…”.

The notice also points out that the “primary responsibility to coordinate and manage the disaster, in terms of existing legislation and contingency arrangements, is designated to the national executive”.

Speaking to the nation last night on the declaration of the national state of disaster, president Ramaphosa emphasised that the declaration serves to “ensure an effective response across all spheres of government to the extreme weather events that have occurred in several parts of the country”.

It also enables the “mobilisation of more resources, capabilities and technical expertise in providing relief, recovery and rehabilitation to affected communities”.

The response to the disaster will be implemented in three phases, namely, immediate humanitarian relief, stabilisation and recovery and reconstruction and rebuilding.

The Solidarity Fund is to set up a separate bank account for the flood disaster while national treasury will make R1 billion immediately available.

The president emphasised that corruption, mismanagement or fraud of any sort will not be tolerated.

“Learning from the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are drawing together various stakeholders to be part of an oversight structure to ensure all funds disbursed to respond to this disaster are properly accounted for and that the state receives value for money”, he said.