KZN road repair bill estimated to cost R5.6 billion, says Zikalala

Heavy destructive rains have caused extensive damage that's resulted in at least 443 deaths, ravaged property, and infrastructure in almost every corner of the province.

KwaZulu-Natal residents deal with the aftermath of the damage caused by heavy rain and floods on 13 April 2022. Picture: @kzngov/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Government is gearing up to assist flood-stricken KwaZulu-Natal with billions of rands being pumped into relief and recovery efforts.

Heavy destructive rains have caused extensive damage that's resulted in at least 443 deaths, ravaged property, and infrastructure in almost every corner of the province.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said that R5.6 billion would be needed to fix the province's roads.

Zikalala said that all recovery funds would be used wisely, saying that they'd learnt lessons from the COVID-19 relief efforts.

The premier was speaking during at a briefing on Sunday night, where he gave an update on the impact of the devastating floods.

"The estimated cost for road infrastructure damage is preliminarily sitting at R5.6 billion and this includes 1,369 infrastructure projects across the province. Short-term intervention will be done, which includes identifying locations where access has been lost completely due to crossings being washed away," Premier Zikalala said.

Zikalala said that most provincial roads were unsafe for use for now.

"Urgent repairs and removal of debris is under way to restore the road network to its safe conditions again. Most roads that have been blocked have so far been cleared, in some cases allowing single-lane access," he said.

The premier said that massive work needed to be done to fix the roads.

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Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal government said that had set aside R1 billion to assist residents after homes were damaged by destructive floods.

Premier Zikalala said that more than 10,000 homes had been affected.

"We know that there is total of 8,329 houses that are partially damaged, with 3,987 completely destroyed and therefore a total of 13,556 affected households that are affected in different ways," Zikalala said.

As many traumatised residents try to recover from the devastation, the premier has promised that those without shelter would be relocated.

"The MEC for human settlements will lead the programme to identify land and temporary relocation of people as well as facilities that will be needed will be provided in terms of the temporary shelters," he said.

Zikalala said that people who had built houses along riverbanks would be prioritised.

"In reality, no building should have ever been allowed to be erected at such a location. As part of the future plans, we should implement a no building line across all municipalities using the Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Act," he said.