Right of reply: eThekwini’s mayor has not been absent during the KwaZulu-Natal floods

The opinion piece panned by Paddy Harper in the Mail & Guardian of 22 April 2022, “A disaster waiting to happen”, bears reference. 

Although there is a lot that can be said about the article, I would like to confine this response to one glaring inaccuracy that the mayor of eThekwini, Mxolisi Kaunda has been absent since the municipality experienced the recent devastating floods.

Last Tuesday, the morning after the flooding, the mayor convened an urgent meeting with officials at the eThekwini Disaster Management Centre. It was at this meeting that task teams were established to deal with, among other things, search and rescue operations, the provision of assistance to displaced families including burial assistance, restoration of critical services such as water and electricity, and the repairing of roads and stormwater infrastructure. After this meeting the mayor held a media briefing.

The following day the mayor joined President Cyril Ramaphosa and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala to visit families and flood ravaged areas.

 In addition, the mayor has visited areas such as Mpola, Tshelimnyama,

Ngoqokazi, Mzinyathi and Amatikwe, among others. This was while he was also liaising with officials to ensure that the necessary support was being sent to areas and that services were being restored.

On Friday (22 February 2022), the mayor addressed business stakeholders about interventions to restore water and electricity to residents and to businesses that were adversely affected by the recent floods. 

Thereafter he chaired the executive committee meeting.

Through his leadership, the city has been able to restore electricity to more than one hundred high-voltage power stations that were affected by floods. Water provision has also improved significantly, particularly in the Outer and Inner West Region. 

The supply of water in the North and North Central areas has progressed and now sits at 50%.

At the Tongaat Water Treatment Plant and the Mlazi Canal water pipeline, which supplies water in areas such as Mlazi, Isipingo and Chatsworth, work is underway to install static tanks, boreholes and to procure a package plant to purify raw water. 

Today, the executive committee resolved that by next Wednesday the people of oThongathi and other areas that have challenges must be able to access water by a package plant, static tanks or water tanks.

Some of the delays in the restoration of services were caused by the fact that road infrastructure in areas such as Molweni, Mlazi and Inanda was severely damaged. Our teams have worked round the clock to clear debris and repair roads. We have already completed major repairs on the South Coast Road that provides access in and out of Mlazi. We are also pleased that the port has resumed operations and is prioritising cargo such as food, medical supplies, and petroleum products.

We wish to thank all our employees for their commitment and hard work during this difficult period and we encourage them not to be distracted by sideshows.

Mluleki Mntungwa, eThekwini municipality mayoral spokesperson.

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Mluleki Mntungwa
Mluleki Mntungwa is eThekwini municipality mayoral spokesperson.

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