‘KZN’s economy back on its feet but storms, floods pose threats’

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The KwaZulu-Natal government says the province’s economy is back on its feet but recurring storms and floods continue to pose threats.

The province’s economy was badly affected by three major catastrophes – the COVID-19 pandemic, the July 2021 civil unrest, and the destructive floods in April 2022.

The provincial government says the cost of damage caused by these disasters collectively amounts to R33 billion.

Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma says the recurring floods continue to be a setback in government’s efforts to fix aging infrastructure in affected towns.

“A lot has been done in terms of retails and spazas in terms of those that were affected. Unfortunately, we are still trying to fix problems that we have found in areas that have flooding such as Ladysmith and Margate. For us, global warming is here to stay, it means that we must adapt and increase the scope of understanding when it comes to spatial planning,” he explains.

“Also people must not build around the flood plain, because these torrential rains are something that we thought are foreign to SA, but we encounter more flooding yearly. This means we must plan better especially now as we go into the winter months,” adds Duma.

Some economists say from a growth perspective, the province is stable after the calamities.

They say securing jobs for all is a challenge due to the rise in population.

Independent economist Professor Bonke Dumisa says, “When it comes to jobs, we are losing more jobs than what we are creating in South Africa, and the reason is because our population growth rate is much higher than our economic growth rate. So when we say we lost over 2.8 million jobs, yes some of those jobs have been recovered.”

“But as soon as those jobs are recovered, it does not mean those who had lost jobs before were the ones that are going to be claiming the jobs [that have been] created,” adds Dumisa.

VIDEO | The video below reports more on recent KZN floods: