The floods have damaged roads in Garissa

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Thembi Nkadimeng announced on Tuesday that the National Treasury released R372 million from the Municipal Disaster Response Grant last month to help municipalities affected by floods.

This follows the National Treasury's approval of R1.844 billion in funds for the 2023-24 financial year to address the effects of disasters across multiple provinces.

South Africa has experienced heavy rainfall, resulting in numerous floods across KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape since April 2022. Even this week, the rain particularly wreaked havoc in the Western Cape, resulting in the closure of many schools across the province on Monday.

Nkadimeng, who addressed the media in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Nata, said the funds will be used for facilitating urgent repairs, reconstruction and infrastructure rehabilitation.

"The focus is to ensure access to clean, reliable water and essential government facilities for affected communities," she said, SA News reported.

Nkadimeng said a total of 199 projects across various municipalities in seven provinces have been greenlit, with a combined allocation of R372,001,000, including 65 projects in KwaZulu-Natal, 36 in the Eastern Cape, 30 in the Western Cape, 29 in the Free State, 19 in Mpumalanga, 18 in Limpopo and two in the North West.

The minister reassured South Africans that the distribution of disaster grants comes with rigorous reporting and compliance measures to guarantee transparency and accountability in fund utilization.

"Organs of state are mandated to submit monthly, quarterly, and annual reports to the NDMC [National Disaster Management Centre], covering both financial and non-financial aspects of their disaster management initiatives," she said.

Furthermore, to supervise project execution and maintain adherence to quality standards, the NDMC, Provincial Disaster Management Centres, Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency and relevant sector departments carry out frequent site visits to municipalities.

"Through these concerted efforts, we strive to ensure that projects are completed efficiently and that affected communities receive the necessary support to recover and thrive," the minister added.

She explained that the government is consistently enhancing early warning systems through collaboration with the South African Weather Service and other stakeholders.

Nkadimeng further noted that "early warnings are a vital component of disaster preparedness and can save lives by providing crucial information and allowing individuals to take proactive measures to mitigate risks and minimize harm."