The South African Human Rights Commission has urged flood victims to report allegations of corruption in aid distribution. This comes after flood survivors in Molweni, west of Durban, expressed concern that flood relief distribution is being influenced by political motives.
Over 400 people died in last month’s devastating floods, leaving thousands displaced and in dire need of adequate housing.
Flood survivors at the Dinabakubo community hall in Molweni claim that government aid is not reaching those who need it the most. They have accused a former councillor from the African National Congress (ANC) of distributing food aid to party supporters only.
Fikile Dlamini, is a mother of four children. She is living at the KwaDinakubo community hall after her home was swept away during the floods.
The single mother, who is employed as a hairdresser, says the only assistance she has received is from non-government organisations and good samaritans.
Like many here, this victim is concerned that government aid is restricted and only provided along with political associations.
Dlamini says, “We are receiving food, taxi owners have donated us a deep freezer and a microwave. Our main worry is that some aid is not reaching us, we didn’t get a share of assistance that was delivered by ministers to upper Molweni. We have never been visited by ministers…”
“I want to have my own space, I don’t know for how long I will be staying here. We are not receiving updates, it’s only promises. It will be sad if the government is aware that we are sabotaged. Although we have been promised houses I’m losing hope because I feel like all the aid is given to selected people. We feel like there are people who are able to control the government’s systems,” adds Dlamini.
KZN Floods | Humanitarian aid under way in parts of KZN:
ANC to investigate
ANC secretary in the eThekwini region Musa Nciki says they will investigate the allegations.
“If there are such allegations that are rising, so we’ll be able to send out teams to go and investigate the issues, and once it’s investigated will be able to rectify it, but furthermore if they are such councillors who are doing that and specially used in the emblem of the organisation, we will have to take them into the processes of disciplinary if they are such cuz they’re working there, there’s a code of conduct that they must be allowed to and will be able to deal with them accordingly.”
The provincial head of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Advocate Lloyd Lotz is encouraging survivors who feel that their rights have been infringed to come forward and report their complaints.
Lotz says, “The South African Human Rights Commission will be looking at a violation of rights, together with other Chapter 9 such as the Commission for Gender Equality, and I’m also aware that the Auditor General is already working on interventions to ensure that funds that are being portioned to respond to the disaster are actually going to be distributed in a correct manner…”
“Ours is to monitor what the government is doing with regards to the provision of goods, the provision of the grants that the government has. If people have such complaints, those complaints can be provided to us, we can take those up, we can look at those particular issues,” adds Lotz.
Community members who are temporarily seeking shelter at the Dinabakubo community hall are also appealing for gas to cook food.
KZN Floods I Aerial view of the damage:
More assistance required
Themba Njilo, is among the NGOs working on the ground in and around the province, assisting communities with clothes, food and water.
Njilo says, “We discovered that most of the people are still suffering and the Foundation we are pleading and asking the other NPOs and NGOs to come on board to do that we will be able to assist as much as we can our people. Funders can come on board and fund all the NPOs and NGOs. I think assistance will be well cared for and people will be able to get assistance quickly because as foundations and NPOs we ate the ones who came first before the government came and assisted. ”
On April 18th, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the floods a national state of disaster. This effectively ensures the mobilisation of additional resources and technical expertise in providing relief, recovery and rehabilitation to affected communities.