‘Ready for any dis­as­ter’

READER: DIS­PLACED BE­CAUSE OF SINKHOLES; MU­NIC­I­PAL­ITY HAS ACTS

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS -

This is a se­quel to the meet­ing that you ad­dressed on Oc­to­ber 10, at Khut­song Gugulethu Cen­tre. You urged the cit­i­zens not to be afraid to en­gage coun­cil­lors and hold them ac­count­able where is­sues of ser­vice de­liv­ery are con­cerned. I’m ex­er­cis­ing that op­tion. I re­side at 532 Khut­song Location and my fam­ily has been dis­placed as a re­sults of sinkholes. In your pre­vi­ous re­sponse, you men­tioned that you man­aged to get the R118 075 349 from the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Cen­tre (The Cit­i­zen, June 21, page 6). Also at Gugulethu, you men­tioned that you man­aged to ac­quire other un­spec­i­fied fund­ing from Cogta.

Hav­ing said that, I have to ask:

1. Was this the only fund­ing you got for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of sinkholes?

Mayor Maneli: On Au­gust 25 last year, the West Rand Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity sub­mit­ted a re­port to the Na­tional and Pro­vin­cial Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Cen­tres in re­la­tion to the state of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs in Mer­a­fong City Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The is­sues raised in the re­port in­cluded, among oth­ers, the con­stant for­ma­tion of sinkholes and age­ing wet ser­vices in that area.

As a con­se­quence, the West Rand Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, in con­sul­ta­tion with Mer­a­fong, the pro­vin­cial and na­tional cen­tres de­clared the area a lo­cal state of dis­as­ter on Novem­ber 24, 2016, in terms of sec­tion 55 of the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Act. Sub­se­quently, the Na­tional De­part­ment of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (Cogta) made a grant al­lo­ca­tion of R118 075 349 to Mer­a­fong City for the re­cov­ery and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion owing to the dis­as­ter-re­lated in­ci­dences ex­pe­ri­enced in Mer­a­fong. 2. How and where was this R118 mil­lion spent?

Mayor Maneli: As in­di­cated above, the R118 075 349 was meant for the re­cov­ery and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the de­clared lo­cal state of dis­as­ter in the area of Mer­a­fong. 3. What steps does the coun­cil take to pre­vent the re-oc­cur­rence and de­vel­op­ment of sinkholes?

Mayor Maneli: In so far as nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are con­cerned, there is lit­tle any au­thor­ity can do about it. Such oc­cur­rences are an act of na­ture.

How­ever, in as far as man­made dis­as­ters are con­cerned, the West Rand Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has de­vel­oped and pro­mul­gated (1) Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment Risk Man­age­ment By-Law, (2) Civil Contin­gen­cies By-Law, (3) Dis­trict Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Plan, and the (4) Dolomite Risk Man­age­ment Strat­egy. Th­ese doc­u­ments are de­vel­oped with the aim of the man­age­ment, re­duc­tion, min­imi­sa­tion, pre­ven­tion and mit­i­ga­tion of any dis­as­ter-re­lated in­ci­dences. 4. Does the coun­cil have a pol­icy for struc­tures that are dam­aged as a re­sult of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters?

Mayor Maneli: The pol­icy frame­work re­lat­ing to the man­age­ment of dis­as­ters is (1) the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Act, Act 57 of 2002, (2) Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Frame­work, (3) Dis­trict Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment By-Law and the ap­proved Dis­trict Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Plan.

5. If the mu­nic­i­pal­ity does have poli­cies on this mat­ter, are th­ese doc­u­mented?

Mayor Maneli: Yes, as in­di­cated above, the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Act was pro­mul­gated in 2002, the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Frame­work was pro­mul­gated in 2005, Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment By-Law was pro­mul­gated in 2015, Civil Contin­gen­cies By-Law was pro­mul­gated in 2015, the Dis­trict Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Plan was re­viewed in 2015, and the Dolomite Risk Man­age­ment Strat­egy was ap­proved in 2008. 6. There are fam­i­lies that have been dis­placed for over 10 years. Does the mu­nic­i­pal­ity have a time frame to resolve this mat­ter?

Mayor Maneli: As men­tioned above, the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Func­tion of the West Rand Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity sub­scribes to a multi-sec­toral and multi-dis­ci­pline ap­proach to all dis­as­ter-re­lated in­ci­dences.

The mat­ter will be taken up with the rel­e­vant de­part­ment of hu­man set­tle­ment to en­sure that your con­cern re­ceives the nec­es­sary at­ten­tion.

The multi-sec­toral and multi-dis­ci­pline ap­proach seeks to en­sure that all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, such as pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor in­sti­tu­tions, as well as com­mu­ni­ties, are on board in deal­ing with the in­ci­dent in ques­tion.

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