Housing Department confirms no additional funds will be allocated to KZN floods

Issued by Emma Louise Powell MP – DA Shadow Minister of Human Settlements
11 May 2022 in News

Please find pictures here and here as well as videos here and here.

Officials from the Department of Human Settlements have confirmed to the Portfolio Committee in Parliament that no funds, other than existing annual grants, will be allocated to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) for housing related flood relief.

This follows in excess of 14 000 homes having been damaged and destroyed in the Province during the floods that occurred in early April.

Officials also confirmed that the National Department is unable to provide KZN with additional relief funds from unspent Entity budgets, as previously indicated by the Minister. This is because the Department must first await its audited financial statements of the previous financial year which will only be available in September.

Rather, the Department has asked that the Province and the eThekweni Municipality reprioritize existing budget allocations from the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) and the Informal Settlements Upgrading Program Grant (ISUPG).

eThekweni Municipality has declined to do so, citing that all money has already been allocated to existing projects and there are no remaining grant funds that can be utilized for disaster relief efforts.

eThekweni Municipality is furthermore unable to indicate to the Department how they intend to finance repairs to the Umlazi Bridge (amongst other infrastructure) – as this would usually be financed using the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) that is provided by the Housing Department.

The only additional allocation that the two spheres may still stand to receive, would be from the Emergency Housing Relief Grant. However, the National Department is yet to make a decision on how much of this will be allocated to KwaZulu-Natal and when this is likely to happen. This R500m grant source must cover all housing-related disasters across the country for the upcoming financial year, and there are limitations posed on its proportional disbursement by Treasury. Almost four weeks on from the floods, it is unclear if, and how much of this will be sent to KwaZulu-Natal.

Whilst thousands of informal settlement residents remain living in halls, and with the Department of Social Development having now ended their feeding program, it is not clear how much longer this failed government can expect displaced residents to remain patient.

Conditions on the ground, as evidenced by my oversight visit to KZN last week, revealed the most deplorable conditions on the ground. Communities across KZN are yet to be provided with any information on plans being put in place, whilst officials at the National Department confirm that the “Task Team” are meeting weekly to discuss plans.

In total, the only money the Province will receive for Housing is money it already has. This in the form of R922 million that will now be internally redirected from existing housing projects in the Province.