The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) has classified the damaging recent inclement weather in parts of the country as a national disaster.
The heavy summer rain has claimed over 80 lives, with damage to property, infrastructure and the environment caused by flooding, strong winds, sink holes, and landslides.
In a statement, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said the NDMC was working closely with provinces and all affected organs of state and continues to receive reports on the extent of the damage caused.
CoGTA spokesperson Lungi Mtshali in statement said the decision to classify the weather pattern as a national disaster came after consultation with all provinces and other relevant roleplayers on the extent of the damages.
He said the classification was in line with the mandate of the Head of NDMC under section 23 of the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002.
“This classification is done to confirm that the situation is regarded as a disaster and is of a magnitude that exceeds the capacity of affected municipalities and Provinces to deal with.
“It further assigns primary responsibility to the national sphere of government for the coordination and management of the disaster and enables organs of state in all spheres to assist in dealing with the disaster and its consequences,” he said.
The department said the classification would activate the provisions of section 19 (6) of the Division of Revenue Act 2021 to enable all affected accounting officers to redirect/repurpose their allocations and to access Department of Cooperative Governance disaster grants to deal with the effects of the disaster.
It urged the public to continue observing weather warnings as issued regularly by the South African Weather Service and to practice safety measures in the face of continuing rains and resultant storms and flooding incidents.
“A special plea is particularly made to those who are located in low lying areas to take precautionary measures including relocation away from those risky areas,” said Mtshali. – SAnews.gov.za