A survey by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has revealed that at least 826 companies were affected by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal, with the cost of the damage estimated at R7 billion.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said on Thursday the top three districts that had the biggest impact included eThekwini Municipality with 239 companies responding, accounting for 50.6%, followed by iLembe with 87 companies, accounting for 18.43%, and the Ugu District with 54 companies accounting for 11.44%.
He said the floods had affected 31 220 jobs with eThekwini accounting for 68% of the jobs affected.
“The damage to Toyota has resulted in their temporary closure in the Durban South basin, an estimated 30 000 employees across the manufacturing industry are out of work currently. This means that employees could be without pay for approximately three months, given the severity of damage at Toyota South Africa.
“We are, however, very encouraged by the decision and the commitment of Toyota globally and other businesses to rebuild and build back better here in KwaZulu-Natal despite the setbacks and losses to business caused by the floods. Recovery priorities include working with the private sector to ensure a disaster-proof rebuilding process,” Zikalala said.
The Premier was addressing the media on the provincial government’s effort to recover and rebuild from the devastation caused by the floods.
Improvements in port operations
Zikalala announced that port operations are being improved, but are affected by the rest of the network in the province.
Currently, two lanes on Bayhead Road are open and operational while the repairs to the road are being carried out.
“Unfortunately, rail in the port area is damaged and will be back in operation in July 2022. There is consideration to open a new road along the railway line to ease movement of cargo.
“Electricity and water challenges around the port are affecting many companies and until there is progress on roads feeding into the M7, we will be affected by costly delays at the Port of Durban,” Zikalala said.
However, operations at King Shaka International Airport are back to normal with the Dube Trade Port providing water tinkering by utilising its own equipment and sourcing water from their own dams.
“As a result, the much-publicised water crisis at King Shaka, a strategic location especially for the tourism sector, has now thankfully been resolved,” he said.
R67.5 million to support SMMEs
On small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) support, Zikalala said measures are being implemented to assist spaza shops in townships and implementing tourism sector interventions, and SMME relief for infrastructure.
“For this purpose, the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs is repurposing R67.5 million towards the SMME and Co-Ops Relief Fund, as approved by Provincial Treasury.
“The Fund will prioritise township and rural businesses, and informal traders in eThekwini Metro, Ilembe, King Cetshwayo and uGu Districts.
“In this regard, the Executive Committee has approved the application to National Treasury for the release of R1 billion funding for immediate needs while awaiting the appropriation of the rest of the disaster funds. This is to cover the shelter support, human settlement interventions, water and sanitation interventions, roads and relief,” Zikalala said.
High voltage sub stations restored
The Premier also reported that all high voltage sub stations have been restored, with some work still in progress on low and medium voltage faults.
He noted that eThekwini alone had in excess of 100 power stations that were severely affected by the floods, leaving many parts of the city in darkness.
“Power supply interruptions are being experienced in areas such as KwaNdengezi, Zwelibomvu and Marrianridge almost daily. This is caused by an electricity overload.
“The city has advised that work at the Marianridge substation to resolve this problem is expected to be completed in the next two weeks,” he said.
R125 000 donor funds received
Meanwhile, Zikalala announced that as at 15 May 2022, a sum of R125 000 has been donated through a dedicated bank Account number: 4103831039 with ABSA Bank, opened by the province.
“Of this amount R100 000 is specifically earmarked for the Department of Health [and] the balance of R25 000 will be used towards the rebuilding process. The bulk of donor funding has been sent directly to NGOs and can be accounted for by the NGOs.
“The Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Coordinating Office in South Africa will work with NGOs to ensure that citizens receive a report on who did what with the donations earmarked for the people affected by floods.
“There were many announcements made by various corporate companies and all of us will need to account and be transparent about what we did and how the money earmarked for flood victims in KwaZulu-Natal in 2022 was spent,” Zikalala said. – SAnews.gov.za