Committee Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery Report: discussion

Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery

19 October 2022
Chairperson: Mr C Frolick (ANC) and Mr J Nyambi (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary


Tabled Committee Reports

The Ad-Hoc Joint Committee sat to discuss its draft report on the flood disaster relief and recovery in the Eastern Cape (EC), North West (NW) and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Members were united in their disappointment with the government’s response to the flood disasters.

Members made several recommendations, including:

The Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment must utilise the flood disaster in all three provinces and the subsequent response, as a case study when considering the Climate Change Bill.

The National Disaster Committee should establish a mechanism to capacitate the District Disaster Management committees.

There should be a review of the provisions related to disaster management within the PFMA and MFMA, which will allow for resources to be allocated swiftly to affected communities.

Due to the EC provincial government’s failure to submit a response on the various issues raised by the Committee during the oversight visit – especially relating to the damage caused by floods in the Port St John’s area – the Committee decided to postpone its adoption of the report to the following week

Meeting report

Co-Chairperson Frolick requested that the Committee Secretary flight the agenda of the meeting.

Ms Nola Matinise, Committee Secretary, indicated that the Committee would consider and adopt its Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery Report.

Co-Chairperson Frolick asked that Members and staff switch on their video cameras when speaking, so that members of the public and media would be better able to follow the proceedings. The report, which he believed gave a factual account of the work done by the Ad-Hoc Committee thus far, had been circulated with Members in the prior week. Thereafter, he asked for Members to be specific in their proposed amendments and comments on the report. 

Ms Matinise highlighted that the report incorporated all of the Committee’s activities, from its oversight visits to affected areas and meetings held with the various Ministers. In the previous weeks, both Chairpersons requested that the Committee rather receive progress reports from the EC and KZN provincial governments, instead of undertaking follow-up oversight visits. Following this recommendation, the Secretariat wrote to the two provincial governments, requesting those reports – it has since received a consolidated report from KZN.

Briefing on Ad-Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery draft report

Mr Andile Sokomani, Committee Researcher, took the Committee through its draft report on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery efforts in the NW, KZN and EC provinces.

On 26 April 2022, both the NA and NCOP agreed to establish the Joint Ad hoc Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery. This was done in accordance with Joint Rule 138.


The mandate of the Committee was to:

(a) engage the relevant government departments and entities to assess the overall impact of the damage, response and relief measures by Government;

(b) oversee the response and implementation of the relief measures by Government;

(c) confer with those committees who have a direct interest in the events to facilitate coordinated oversight;

(d) exercise those powers in Joint Rule 32 in the furtherance of its mandate

[See Committee’s work here. The final approved report will be made available once published].

Co-Chairperson Frolick mentioned that the report was a factual representation of the work done up to this point.

Co-Chairperson Nyambi also commended the role played by the Committee’s support staff in the drafting of the report, and Members for their oversight work.

He then opened the floor for discussion.


Ms M Lesoma (ANC) also commended the report and said it was a true representation of what the Committee experienced during its oversight.

Referring to the introduction on page 11, she recommended that this section also indicate that the political authorities did not attend the meeting between the KZN provincial government and eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (EMM), due to miscommunication; however, they were present at the subsequent engagements. 

On the same page, she proposed that the report reflect whether the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) had submitted its proposed matrix to the Committee or not.

Referring to Page 26, she requested that the report include the Member’s discussions with the Executive Mayor of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District and the Premier of the North West, regarding the district’s submission of a technical certificate – related to the flooded area – to the Committee, be added, for the Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (PCFFE) to take note of; and provide assistance to the province.

On page 31, she pointed out that the first line should state Tongaat Water Treatment Works and not only Water Works, so that full context is provided. 

Still on the same page, under human settlements, she asked that the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI)’s comments on the availability of state-owned land that can be sourced by provinces and municipalities to build temporary residential units (TRUs).

On page 48, she requested that the report include the fact that the KZN provincial government did, in fact, submit its progress report to the National Treasury, contrary to the Minister’s remarks that he was unaware of any submissions made by the three provinces and their municipalities.

Touching on Page 50, which spoke of the declared areas, she asked that the Committee be more direct and state that there be a special dispensation in the allocation of funds and their reprioritisation, where a province or municipality has been declared a national disaster, so as to improve the response.

Referring to the Committee’s observations on the un-uniformed responses by all three spheres of government to the disaster, she called for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) to improve their coordination and create a standalone unit dedicated to disaster management response. Furthermore, she requested that both departments, specifically CoGTA, improve their lines of communication with the local municipalities.

The disaster exposed the extent of inadequate maintenance of provincial and municipal infrastructure, which has been neglected for many years. As such, she recommended that the provincial departments and municipalities submit maintenance plans for highly dilapidated infrastructure. 

In her final submission, she proposed that the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) be persuaded to adopt and establish the Parliament Coordinating Steering Committee on Climate Change, as the National Assembly (NA) has already done. This would improve the country’s technical capabilities to address disasters and other issues related to climate change.

Mr V Zungula (ATM) stated that he had two recommendations to make. One, the National Disaster Committee (NDC) should establish a mechanism to capacitate the District Disaster Management (DMA) committees so that they are better able to respond to disasters. Two, the Committee should encourage the Council for Geoscience to create working relations with the national Department of Human Settlements as well as its provincial and local departments so that it is able to provide its expertise on any matter falling within its mandate.  

Mr F Du Toit (FF+, Free State) asked if the Committee had received the report from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on the work that it has done thus far. In addition, he noted that the Department of Transport (DoT) had submitted its report to the Committee.

Co-Chairperson Frolick reminded Members that during their oversight visits, Members of the Executive Council (MEC), Premiers, and Mayors pointed out that the provisions of both the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) were not designed to respond to national disasters. As a response to this concern, he proposed that the Committee make a recommendation that there be a review of the provisions related to disaster management within both acts, which will allow for resources to be allocated swiftly to affected communities – some of which have still not received financial assistance from the government, due to issues between its three spheres.

Furthermore, he proposed that the PCFFE utilise the flood disaster in all three provinces and the subsequent response, as a case study when considering the Climate Change Bill.

Both the provincial and local governments were unable to implement relief measures due to the national government’s slow response. However, he was pleased by the Minister of Public Enterprises’ leadership during the response to the relief particularly his decision to reopen the ports, through Transnet, that were closed. Clarification, with the assistance of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, should be provided on the jurisdiction of the ports between the department, the provincial governments and municipalities.  

He agreed with Mr Zungula’s proposal that the NDC establish a mechanism to capacitate the DMA committees so that they are better able to respond to disasters. On this, he further proposed that minimum standards and requirements be set across the different provincial DMCs on how each reports and that citizens be informed on the response strategy much earlier. This would also ensure that all provinces respond well to disasters.

He described the EC government’s failure to provide a response on the various issues raised by the Committee during the oversight visit, especially relating to the damage caused by floods in the Port St John’s area, as disheartening. Due to the non-submission, he suggested that the Committee postpone adopting the report on Friday to another date sometime next week.

Following this, he asked the Committee Secretariat if SANDF had submitted its report.

Mr D Macpherson (DA) felt that the report had not explained that much of the confusion and finger- pointing amongst leaders of the three spheres of government was caused by the President’s announcement that R1 billion would be allocated to the disaster recovery, which created false expectations. Based on this, he proposed that the report include recommendations to hold politicians in government accountable for not delivering on their promises to citizens.

Mr M Mashego (ANC) also commended the support staff for compiling the report. He then seconded the proposal that the report from the EC provincial government be submitted before the Committee adopted the final draft report.  

He disagreed with Mr Macpherson’s proposal, highlighting that the National Treasury had already provided details on how the R1 billion had been spent thus far. He suggested that the Committee monitor the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report.

Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) said that he was concerned that the report did not attribute enough blame to the EMM for its poor planning and early warning systems, which did not give residents much time to respond to the incoming disaster. 500 people died during the floods, making it the most significant natural disaster the country has seen, he pointed out. As such, he proposed the inclusion of all politicians and officials who failed to fulfil their duties in the report; if this was not done, he would reserve his position on it. Other than that, he was pleased with the report’s capturing of what had occurred from the beginning of the floods up until now.

Ms Lesoma suggested that the Members submit their proposed amendments to the support team involved in drafting the report, so that they could be added. 

Co-Chairperson Nyambi agreed with Ms Lesoma’s proposal, and believed that this would allow for the drafters to finalise the report, so that the Committee could then consider and adopt it. Subsequently, he proposed that the Committee meet the following week, and not on Friday. 

Co-Chairperson Frolick indicated that the date and time for next week’s meeting would be communicated to Members on Friday.  

Co-Chairperson Nyambi said that the date for the final meeting will be communicated on Friday.

The meeting was adjourned.


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