KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala says the recent floods ranks among the worst catastrophe to befall the province, as the death toll increases to at least 443.
He says the inclement weather continues to hamper search and rescue operations.
Giving an update on the situation in the province, Zikalala says they’re now focusing on helping affected people get past the disaster.
A diver ,who was part of a search and rescue team at Henley Dam in Pietermaritzburg, has died. The diver reportedly experienced breathing difficulties while in the water. They were searching for bodies of locals who were swept away by floods.
Premier Sihle Zikalala says was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he passed on.
“We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the people and the family of one of our search and rescue team members who was busy doing search and rescue at Helen Dam. He experienced difficulty breathing and was airlifted to the Mediclinic Hospital and unfortunately, he passed away.”
The province of KwaZulu-Natal is considering prohibiting people from building near river banks in the future.
Zikalala says most people affected by recent floods had their homes near river banks. He says, in future, municipalities need to be stricter ensuring no one builds a house in high-risk areas.
“The case of persons who have built houses along the river banks will receive priority attention because mostly these are people that get affected whenever there are floods. A number of joules along these river banks were affected. Many still remain precariously perched on the edge of the river. The reality is no building should ever have been allowed to be erected at such a location as part of the future plans, we should implement a no building across all municipalities using the prevention of emergency of slumps act.”
Meanwhile, Zikalala says the funds allocated for the floods relief in KwaZulu-Natal will be closely monitored.
“All the resources allocated for flood relief and the recovery and building process will be utilised in line with Fiscal prudence accountability transparency and openness. We want to emphasise the fact that having learned the lessons of COVID-19, no amount of corruption maladministration, or fraud will be tolerated in the province. We want to assure our communities that all the funds will be used prudently and that no one will be allowed to abuse the suffering of the people in order to line up their pockets.”
The search and rescue mission continues as 63 people are still missing.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala holds a media briefing on efforts to assist flood victims: