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Steenhuisen visits devastated KZN communities, says relief funds must reach those in need

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

DA leader John Steenhuisen says seeing the human face of the KwaZulu-Natal floods and witnessing infrastructure destruction has made him determined to ensure relief funds do not end up lining the pockets of cronies.

Steenhuisen spent hours on Wednesday visiting affected areas in Umdloti, Tongaat and Inanda, north of Durban, where he assessed affected business, the distribution of aid and families who lost loved ones.  

“What we are picking up in our visit here in Inanda is that at the heart of it we have seen broken infrastructure, broken homes and now we have seen a broken family who have lost a loved one who was in the room behind us that collapsed in the floods, and because he was disabled he was not able to get out and succumbed to his injuries,” he said.

The province is recovering from floods that claimed the lives of at least 443 people, with 63 others missing and scores displaced after their homes were destroyed in the deluge.

“This is the human face of this tragedy in KwaZulu-Natal, a sombre end to the day, but an end that has made us determined to make sure there is justice for the family, we fix infrastructure and that every cent of public money allocated to bring relief to people such as the Dlamini household reaches them, not greedy politicians and the corrupt.”

Priorities included provision of water, food parcels and access to relief funds for infrastructure repairs.

Steenhuisen criticised the government's response.

“What’s been obvious is that there is a lack of co-ordinated response by disaster management agencies and government, people haven't seen [water] tankers for nine days, lack of repairing of infrastructure, no delivery of food parcels. Communities are abandoned and left on their own ... to fix things and get things done and that is not right.

People need a government that is on their side in times of tragedy and this government has not been on the people's side and must be held accountable.”

Rebuilding the province required a united effort, he added.

“Every cent of public money for relief must go to households and people who have genuinely been affected."

TimesLIVE


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