Free State not ready for natural disaster management

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The Free State government has admitted that it is not ready for natural disaster management. This comes as the province experienced flash floods in Bronville in the Matjhabeng municipality and in some parts of Bloemfontein, earlier in 2019.

Climate Change leaves communities exposed to hazards. Commemorating the International Day for Disaster risk reduction in Bloemfontein, Free State residents have had to rebuild their lives after veld fires, droughts and floods.

Residents of Caleb Motshabi in Bloemfontein say the Mangaung Metro Municipality has not improved their situation since their area was last hit by floods.

“It’s bad, even our children carry old people in exchange of money because of rain. We want our bridge to be fixed.”

Government says plans are in place for the province to react proactively to disasters. However, it admitted to failing to implement contingency measures the last time disaster hit.

Free State Co-operative Governance MEC, Thembeni Nxangisa, says they do not have a provincial natural disaster centre.

“We don’t have a provincial natural disaster centre, we are not ready. We have municipalities that have their own structure to a certain extent, they are ready, but we are not. That’s why the Premier has issued an instruction.”

Mangaung Metro executive mayor, Olly Mlamleli says proper budgeting will be done for natural disasters.

“We as the Metro we must also budget for maintenance; it’s a matter of must. So in this next session of budget, I’m going to make sure that we increase maintenance budget.”

Government says climate change has also affected the Agricultural sector drastically.