Municipal services

KZN flood victims still waiting on eThekwini for municipal services

Part of the Caversham to Pinetown road was washed away on April 12, 2022 in Durban.

(Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

  • KwaZulu Natal mthe municipal authorities have not yet completed the temporary residential units for the victims of the devastating floods in April.
  • Many are not yet connected to water and electricity services.
  • An estimated R2.2 billion is needed for short-term emergency repairs to damaged water and sanitation infrastructure.

Four months after devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal washed away thousands of homes, ‘intervention’ is still needed from Durban city authorities to install services to connect to proposed temporary residential units.

According to officials, contact with the water and sanitation department of the city of eThekwini is ongoing.

On Friday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma briefed Parliament on her department’s progress in its response to the April floods in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape which cost life to more than 300 people.

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Jurgens Dyssel, senior director of legislation, policy and compliance management at the National Center for Disaster Management, told MPs on the Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Disaster Relief and Recovery that repair costs would number in the billions.

“The estimation and verification of damage and the costing [in KZN] Has been completed. Twenty-seven sewage treatment plants in eThekwini were damaged; 75 water infrastructures and 62 sewer infrastructures. R2.214 billion is estimated for short-term emergency repairs.

“[A] The long-term ‘build back better’ scenario is estimated to require R7.734 billion. A war room was created and mobilized about 250 people to deal with the damage to the KZN water sector. Updates show substantial progress in resolving water supply in five major regions of eThekwini. Of all the regions, the southern region is the one that still presents challenges,” he said.

Dyssel said the designs would be in line with the permanent solution to follow later.

“An intervention is still required from the City of eThekwini on the installation of services to connect the proposed TRUs [temporary residential units]. Engagements with the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department are ongoing. The Phase 2 procurement for the construction of additional TRUs has been approved by the Provincial Treasury and Real Time Auditors,” he said in a presentation.

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Dyssel said challenges have also been reported for restoring water supplies to specific facilities.

“KZN was asked to provide a list of health facilities that still depend on water takers for water supply and a plan on how they should be resolved. The health and water sectors need to work together on this issue,” he said.

Moreover, he said 736 temporary living units were handed over to families for occupancy in phase 1.

“There are eight sites identified for TRUs in the eThekwini Metro [and] three will fall in the northern region and five in the western region. Eight sites with full amenities will produce a total of 1074 TRUs, including toilet blocks. The expected total yield will be confirmed once all developments are complete. Preliminary engineering design process [are] underway for all sites,” he said.