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Sihle Zikalala criticises civil society over non-delivery of KZN flood relief

28 May 2022

KZN premier Sihle Zikalala has accused some NGOs of not sticking to their promise over flood relief efforts.

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) premier Sihle Zikalala has accused some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of not sticking to their promise to assist towards the recovery and rebuilding in the province.

Parliament’s Ad-Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery made its first physical visit to KZN on Saturday for oversight purposes as Zikalala briefed MPs on what has been happening on the ground in the affected areas in the province.

The mandate of the committee is to oversee the response and implementation of the relief measures by the government, and is expected to lapse in November.

While donations have poured in for NGOs, such as Gift of the Givers, since floods hit KZN, Sihle Zikalala said there were coordination challenges between government and the civil society organisations.

“A lot has been said yet what is said is not finding expression on the ground. Currently, government is made to be seen as a government that is unable to carry resources and [that] it can’t account. Lots of these NPOs and NGOs have been given money to assist people [but] nothing has been delivered on the ground,” he said.

“They [say they] are busy working, but what they do is not what they promised or publicised. Some [organisations] have begun to send us reports and you begin to see what they claim is not what they are delivering.

“It will be good to look [into] those issues. Gift of the Givers maybe is the better coordinated and [most] visible [organisation],” the premier said.

Zikalala indicated that he asked the South African Human Rights Commission (Sahrc) to monitor the NGOs on how funds and resources meant to assist flood victims are utilised.

“We are doing [this] so that all of us are transparent in what we are doing,” he said.

The KZN government has set up an account for donations towards disaster relief, with Dr Patrice Motsepe donating R30 million.

Relief funds

Auditor-general Tsakani Maluleke this week also briefed the committee about real-time audits which are being conducted to ensure the R1 billion allocated as a relief effort in the wake of floods is not looted.

During Wednesday’s virtual meeting, the auditor-general said politicians had an oversight responsibility of guarding the funds although the first line of defence lay with officials, who are meant to protect them.

Maluleke said the real-time audits were aimed at preventing and detecting weaknesses in controls, which also enables immediate oversight.

Regarding the turnaround time for the audit report, she said her office aimed to have it by August.

“We aim to have a report to you around August of this year. It remains our hope that we will be able to get there… it’s a moving space and I’m sure you will see it when you get to visit physically,” the auditor-general said.

Floods that hit parts of KZN early in April, affected more than 75,000 people and left 445 people dead.

Zikalala revealed on Saturday that more than 7,000 people were currently staying in 90 temporary shelters across the province.

Government has declared a national state of disaster to respond to the deluge in KZN.

According to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the national state of disaster is likely to last for up to three months.

The recovery effort is expected to cost at least R25 billion.

Source: The Citizen

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