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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and the Department of Defense signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) to strengthen South Africa's ability to prevent, respond to and recover from disasters.

During the launch of the MoC on Disaster Management in Pretoria on Wednesday, CoGTA Minister Thembi Nkadimeng said on Wednesday that this "partnership will harness the strengths and resources of both departments, amplifying our collective ability to safeguard lives and livelihoods," SA News reported.

Nkadimeng explained that the key collaboration areas in the MoC include the establishment of a Disaster Reserves Assurance Fund, joint development of Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) and District Integrated Industrial Parks (DIIPs).

Under this MoC, the department will involve participants from the Community Work Program (CWP) in disaster preparedness and community development. Whereas, the Department of Defense will provide defense capabilities to protect South Africa and manage the South African Forces Institute (SAFI), which handles emergency strategic reserves and procurement.

She further explained that the government will also form a strategic alliance to revitalize the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), the CWP, and SAFI to improve the collective ability to handle disasters.

"We believe that this MoC will go a long way to ensure that reaction to disasters is quick and efficient because we will be pulling resources together, and the skills found in Defense will be very handy in this area," the minister said.

She added, "Instead, we are building resilient communities that can withstand and recover from adversity, propelling our nation forward on a path of sustainable development and prosperity."

The minister pointed out the catastrophic impact of climate change on South Africa, noting that it leaves devastation that affects communities, families and livelihoods.

"Too often, communities find themselves in dire situations, lacking adequate support and assistance in the aftermath of disasters. This has highlighted to us the importance of continuously refining and enhancing our disaster response mechanisms to ensure timely and effective assistance reaches those in need and prevents further hardships," she said.

The minister said the government has been working to ensure that the risks of such disasters are reduced and officials are well-prepared for quick and effective response whenever required.