State of disaster declared in two provinces in South Africa

 ·27 May 2024

A state of disaster has been declared in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal following heavy rains in April.

Dr Bongani Elias Sithole, as the Head of the National Disaster Management Centre, declared a provincial disaster in the Free State following severe weather accompanied by disruptive rains on 7 and 8 April 2024.

These rains resulted in death, damage to property, infrastructure, and the environment, and disruption of basic services.

“Emanating from the classification of this occurrence as a Provincial disaster, in terms of section 40 read with section 23 of the (Disaster Management) Act, the primary responsibility to coordinate and manage this disaster, in terms of existing legislation and contingency arrangements, is designated to the Provincial Executive,” said Sithole in a gazette.

“I hereby, in terms of Section 15(2)(A) of the Act, read with section 23(8), call upon organs of state to further strengthen support to existing structures to implement contingency arrangements and ensure that measures are put in place to enable the Provincial Executive to effectively deal with the effects of this disaster.”

In KZN, a local disaster has been declared due to the impact of heavy rainfall on 14 April, which resulted in flash flooding.

The flash flooding resulted in the loss of life and the disruption of livelihoods due to damages associated with the damage to property, infrastructure and the environment in uGu District Municipality on the South Coast of the province.

Unlike the Free State-related gazette, Sithole said that the primary responsibility in KZN rests with the local executive, not the provincial executive, as it is a local disaster.

Despite only being gazetted today, 27 May, Sithole signed the classifications on May 5th.

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