Public Defender achieves unspent billions earmarked for flood relief in 2022

Public Defender achieves unspent billions earmarked for flood relief in 2022

Acting Public Defender Julika Jkalka is investigating allegations that the KwaZulu-Natal government and national governments have failed to provide adequate assistance to victims of dire April floods 2022.

Floods wreak havoc across much of the county, claiming more than 400 lives. Many people are still missing, presumed dead. Thousands of families lost their homes and personal belongings.

Read more at The Daily Maverick: The KZN floods exposed weaknesses in local structures and disaster response – South Africa must not be forgotten

Most of the affected families have been moved from the townships to about 11 large blocks of rented flats in or near the city center, which have been converted into emergency housing.

in April 2023 Az reported in living conditions in emergency housing units. Families living there have accused the district government and eThekwini municipality of failing to keep promises made after the disaster. They said they were promised food vouchers, help finding places at school, and paying school fees.

In June, Auditor General Tsakani Malolek said KwaZulu-Natal had spent only 251 million rand of the 5.8 billion rand earmarked for flood relief. Recently, eThekwini Municipality had to return more than R300 million rand to the national treasury after it failed to spend its conditional grants within the allotted time.

After these reports, community activist Elias Mueller said Az that he asked the Gcaleka Office to investigate whether regional and national governments had failed to assist flood victims, particularly with the provision of academic transportation for learners who now live far from their schools.

He also asked the Acting Solicitor General to investigate whether the decision to stop food deliveries to families in emergency accommodation – a decision he considers “unreasonable” – was improper and irregular.

It appears that the government has failed to take the necessary actions or steps to ensure that the dignity and privacy of flood victims in KZN is promptly restored. “It appears that the government is not prioritizing these victims,” ​​Mueller said.

Ndele Mesoki, acting public defender spokesperson, confirmed that the matter had been assigned to a senior investigator.

Flood victims prepare for winter in emergency housing

Az We spoke to some of the victims of the floods we visited in April. They all said that the situation had not changed or worsened.

At Point Road emergency housing, residents said the county department of human settlements has denied visitors access.

Resident and group representative Nomfula Khusei said some residents had left their children in the care of relatives and close friends while they were crammed into community halls. She said that many of these children were not allowed to move to emergency housing when their parents were moved.

We tried to fight, but we failed. Some of our children had to stay with family members. Now we are being told that they are not even allowed to sleep,” Mkhose said.

She said they heard government officials on the radio saying everything was fine, “but it’s not true.”

Mkhosi said that the KZN education department has asked families to deregister learners from schools in Umlazi and send them to schools near the emergency accommodation. But many of them were in grades 11 and 12, and moving them would affect their progress.

She said, “The department promised us to transfer the scholars, but now they are holding back.”

In April, education spokesperson Mozi Mohlambi said Az That the department could not accommodate all affected learners in the last fiscal year, but efforts are underway to do so in this fiscal year. However, the department since then sectioned Academic transport budget from R459 million to around R266 million.

Mohalambi said the budget cut would affect those still waiting to benefit from the transfer of scholars.

KZN Human Settlements spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said the department is working with the eThekwini municipality and the Housing Development Agency to review and revise house rules following complaints from residents in emergency housing units. DM

It was first published by Az.


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