Zikalala: KZN state of disaster on the cards, food security a concern

Briefing media on plans to rebuild the province's economy after the civil unrest, KZN premier Sihle Zikalala said there was an increase in the shortage of food in the province.

FILE: KZN premier Sihle Zikalala during his brief on the government’s efforts to restore the economy and communities in the province on Saturday, 24 July 2021. Picture: Twitter/@kzngov

JOHANNESBURG – KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said the government could possibly declare a state of disaster in the province following reports of food insecurity.

The premier made the announcement on Saturday during his brief on the government’s efforts to restore the economy and communities in the province.

After warehouses, shopping malls, and trucks were looted and set alight during the week-long mayhem, Zikalala said there was an increase in the shortage of food in the province.

The closure of the N3 and the destruction of economic activity in rural towns have destabilised adequate food supply.

Zikalala said: “There is an increasing shortage of food in various towns. The majority of our towns are already experiencing a severe shortage, while about 32% are at a moderate food shortage. While we are still taking full stock of the damage caused, we also are preparing for the possibility that we may be required to call for the declaration of the state of disaster in KwaZulu-Natal.”

At least 330 people died during the widespread violence, with at least 251 deaths recorded in KwaZulu-Natal.

RECENT RIOTS TO COST ETHEKWINI AT LEAST R20BN

Zikalala said the impact of the widespread violence and looting that hit the province last week has affected eThekwini’s DGP by at least R20 billion.

Counting the costs of the destruction, Zikalala said the road to full recovery will be long and hard.

“We estimate that the unrest will affect eThekwini in the following areas: loss of stock of more than R1.5 billion, damage to property and equipment R15 billion. Preliminary figures project that the impact on the eThekwini GDP will be about R20 billion.”

Zikalala said the scale and lasting consequences of the rioting and looting has also affected the social fabric which bind communities in the province.

“Expect that once the assessment is complete, the figures may be far much higher. The social cost has also been very high. Apart from placing thousands of jobs at risk, the unrest has also threatened social cohesion and food security in the province.”

The premier also said that government could possibly declare a state of disaster in the KwaZulu-Natal due to food insecurity.

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