Ramaphosa returns SA to national state of disaster in response to KZN floods

The president said that the national state of disaster allowed more resources to be freed up, boosting capability and technical expertise in providing relief.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has returned to a national state of disaster, this time in response to the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal that have claimed more than 400 lives.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement in a late Monday night address.

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He said that more than 4,000 homes were destroyed in the deluge, displacing countless residents, while the search continued for dozens of people who were still missing.

Over the last week, there have been mounting calls for the president to declare a provincial state of disaster in KwaZulu-Natal but Ramaphosa said that given the extent and impact of these floods that wouldn’t go far enough.

"The significance of the port of Durban and related infrastructure for the effective operation of the country's economy means that this disaster has implications far beyond the province of KwaZulu-Natal," President Ramaphosa said.

He said that Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would gazette this declaration.

"This is to ensure an effective response across all spheres of government to the extreme weather events and conditions that have occurred in several parts of the country. The primary responsibility to coordinate and manage the disaster is assigned to the national sphere of government, working closely with provincial governments and municipalities," he said.

The president said that the national state of disaster allowed more resources to be freed up, boosting capability and technical expertise in providing relief.