A survey by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition found that at least 826 businesses were affected by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal, with the cost of damage estimated at R7 billion.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said on Thursday the top three districts with the greatest impact included eThekwini Municipality with 239 businesses responding, accounting for 50.6%, followed by iLembe with 87 businesses , accounting for 18.43%, and Ugu district with 54 enterprises. representing 11.44%.
He said the floods had affected 31,220 jobs, with eThekwini accounting for 68% of the jobs affected.
“Damage to Toyota has led to their temporary closure in Durban’s South Basin, around 30,000 manufacturing workers are currently unemployed. This means employees could be without pay for around three months, given the severity of damage at Toyota South Africa.
“We are, however, very encouraged by the decision and commitment of Toyota globally and other companies to rebuild and build back better here in KwaZulu-Natal despite the setbacks and business losses caused by the floods. recovery plans include working with the private sector to ensure a disaster-proof reconstruction process,” said Zikalala.
The premier was speaking to the media about the provincial government‘s efforts to recover and rebuild from the devastation caused by the floods.
Port Operations Improvements
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 road repairs are underway.
“Unfortunately, the rail in the port area is damaged and will be operational again in July 2022. There are plans to open a new road along the rail line to facilitate the movement of goods.
“Power and water issues around the port are affecting many businesses and until there is progress on the roads feeding the M7 we will be affected by costly delays at the port of Durban,” said said Zikalala.
However, operations at King Shaka International Airport have returned to normal, with Dube Commercial Port providing water using its own equipment and fetching water from its own dams.
“As a result, the much publicized water crisis in King Shaka, a strategic location especially for the tourism sector, has now been happily resolved,” he said.
67.5 million rand to support SMEs
Regarding support for small, micro and medium enterprises (SMME), Zikalala said that measures were being implemented to help spaza shops in the townships and implement interventions in the tourism sector, and a SMME relief for infrastructure.
“To this end, the Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs is reallocating R67.5 million to the SME and Co-operative Relief Fund, as approved by the Provincial Treasury.
“The Fund will prioritize businesses in townships and rural areas, as well as informal traders in eThekwini Metro, Ilembe Districts, King Cetshwayo and uGu.
“In this regard, the Executive Committee has approved the request to the National Treasury to release funding of one billion rand for immediate needs pending the allocation of the rest of the disaster funds. This is to cover the shelter support, human settlements response, water and sanitation response, roads and relief,” Zikalala said.
Restored high voltage substations
The Prime Minister also reported that all high voltage substations have been restored, with work still ongoing on low and medium voltage faults.
He noted that eThekwini alone had more than 100 power stations which were badly affected by the floods, leaving many parts of the city in darkness.
“Power supply interruptions occur almost daily in areas such as KwaNdengezi, Zwelibomvu and Marrianridge. This is due to electrical overload.
“The city has advised that work at the Marianridge substation to address this issue should be completed within the next two weeks,” he said.
R125,000 donor funds received
Meanwhile, Zikalala announced that as of May 15, 2022, an amount of R125,000 had been returned via a dedicated bank account number: 4103831039 with ABSA bank, opened by the province.
“Of this amount, R100,000 is specifically intended for the Ministry of Health [and] the balance of R25,000 will be used for the reconstruction process. Most donor funding has been sent directly to NGOs and can be supported by NGOs.
“The Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Coordination Office in South Africa will work with NGOs to ensure that citizens receive a report on who did what with donations intended for those affected by the floods. .
‘There have been many announcements made by various companies and we will all need to be accountable and transparent about what we have done and how the money for flood victims in KwaZulu-Natal in 2022 has been spent’ , said Zikalala.
(With contributions from the South African government press release)