Government notes media reports on an allegation made by the Democratic Alliance at press briefing that the National Treasury has refused to release funds to be used for disaster relief by KwaZulu-Natal provincial government. The allegations levelled against the National Treasury is mischievous and unwarranted at a time when government and society are putting in all efforts to rebuild their lives of those affected by the floods and their livelihoods.
To put this matter into context, in an instance such as the floods where a disaster has been promulgated, Section 56 of Disaster Management Act caters for the reprioritisation of funds. The reprioritisation of funds are also in line with government’s budgeting system. In addressing the recent floods, government embarked on a phased approach, with the first being the immediate humanitarian relief and the second phase, which involves reconstruction and repair.
The R1 billion referred to by President Ramaphosa relates to funding that is catered for in the 2022 Division of Revenue Bill for immediate response through the Provincial Disaster Response Grant and the Municipal Disaster Response Grant. The reprioritisation of funds from budgets were used to fund immediate needs. As such, there are no delays on the allocation of funds; however, there is process that must be followed to unlock these funds.
The process includes provinces and municipalities making applications for these funds to the National Disaster Management Centre and Department of Human Settlement, who in turn after processing them submit them to National Treasury. These funds are available shortly after National Treasury receives and processes an application.
It is important to emphases that the accountability framework has not changed. The procuring departments will have to ensure that procurement and supply chain processes are strictly followed. Government has also put in place additional monitoring measure, through the Auditor-General (AG) of South Africa.
The AG will conduct real-time audits on the disaster response funds made available to provide much-needed relief to affected communities. Real-time audits allows noncompliance to be identified early and institutions will be required to correct it.
Government urges all stakeholders and commentators to engage with factual information and not create panic and confusion.
It has been just over a month since heavy flooding wreaked havoc across parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and North West. In all these provinces, government and all stakeholders have been hard at work to recover from these tragic events. Government is mobilising all available resources and undertaking every effort to ensure that, as we rebuild, no-one is left behind.
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