WC Finance Dept to urge municipalities to budget for disasters
Finance MEC spokesperson Daniel Johnson says that disasters such as fires can no longer be viewed as 'unforeseen'.
CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Finance Department says that it will be urging municipalities to make allocations for "disasters" in their budgets.
The Overstrand mayor has authorised R9.3 million for firefighting expenses following several wildfires over the past three months.
The repurposed funding has gone towards firefighting resources like staff overtime and the fixing and replacement of damaged water infrastructure.
Overstrand Mayor Dudley Coetzee this week explained to council that no provision was made in the 2018/2019 budget for the R9.3 million needed as a result of the recent wildfires.
But Finance MEC spokesperson Daniel Johnson says that disasters such as fires can no longer be viewed as "unforeseen".
"Going forward, we have to, and we certainly need to look at municipal budgets, Municipalities have to begin to plan for fires. It needs to become a budget item."
Johnson says with climate change, natural disasters must be planned for.
"We have to take into account that when it comes to climate change, the trend shows that fires, floods, droughts, what we called unforeseen, that that actually has become part of new budgets going forward."
The Overstrand has had several fires since November, with the biggest one starting in Betty's Bay on New Year's Eve and leading to the death of a woman in Pringle Bay.