Disaster Management Bill: deliberations

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

10 October 2001
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Meeting report

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
11 October 2001
DISASTER MANAGEMENT BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Chairperson: Mr Y Carrim

Documents handed out:
Disaster Management Bill [B 58 - 2001]
Disaster Management Bill Proposed Amendments (Stage 4)

SUMMARY
Deliberations on the Disaster Management Bill continued. The issue of ‘special events’ was discussed focussing on the criteria of whether a stipulated number of people could determine if an event is ‘special’ or not.

The Committee felt that ‘disaster management volunteers’ should be examined in a broader scope than suggested in the Bill.

MINUTES
Disaster Management Bill Amendments – Stage 4
Clause 1
The Committee said that the definition of "special event" as defined in section 1 of the Regulation of Gatherings Act, 1993 (Act No. 205 of 1993),as the assembly of '1000 people in or on any public place, stadium or premises' should be reconsidered. They argued that it does not necessarily take 1000 people to be classified as a disaster. It could happen with a lesser number.

Mr P Smith (IFP) asked what happened if organizers of an event plan for 1000 people but only 500 people attend. Does that mean a disaster cannot happen in this case because there are only 500 people?

Mr Carrim asked how the department came up with the number of 1000 because a disaster could also happen if for instance 500 people are squeezed in a venue meant for 300 people. So number should not be an issue here.

Mr J Kgarimetsa (ANC) asked what happens to places with a small population, for example small villages, does it mean disaster cannot occur in those areas if people are less than 1000?

Dr P Bouwer said they have not examined all angles of the issue. He agreed with the Committee because he gave an example of a house that is supposed to house five people but houses 100 people which could result in a disaster.

The Committee argued that the number of 1000 people is irrelevant and the issue should be reviewed.

Dr Bouwer said they wanted to come up with a specific number for the executive to look at.

Mr F Van Deventer said if they are going to be specific about special events, what would happen in schools because they also have functions.

Dr Bouwer said they should stipulate which measures should be taken to avoid a situation of a disaster at a mass gathering.

New Clause: Municipal disaster management forum
Clause 51
Preparation of disaster management plans by municipal entities
The problem of funding expenses that would be incurred by NGOs and other role-players was discussed. Would organisations be paid or not for participating in the forum?

Apparently there was no answer to this question as Dr Bouwer said he would look at it the following week.

Chapter 7 Disaster Management Volunteers
Mr Smith suggested that volunteers should include structured volunteers like the Red Cross. What about affected people who would like to do something about their fate so volunteer?

Rev Goosen asked what would be the minimum prescribed requirements of a volunteer.

Mr Smith stated that the question of volunteers should be looked at a broader perspective. He said there is another category of volunteers that could be considered.

Chapter 6 - Funding of Post-Disaster Recovery and Rehabilitation
Guiding principles
Clause 52(3)
"Any financial assistance provided by a national, provincial or local organ of state in terms of subsection (2)(a) must be in accordance with the national disaster management framework and any applicable post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation policy of the relevant sphere of government."

It was proposed that the original positions be changed as follows:

-The original position (f) to be changed to the amended position (a) The extent and severity of the disaster, the financial and other capacities of those most affected, and their access to commercial insurance
- The original position (e) to be changed to the amended position (b) The extent of financial and other assistance available from community, public or other non-governmental support programs.
-The original position (d) to be changed to the amended position (c) whether the damage resulting from the disaster is covered by adequate insurance, and if not, the reasons for its absence.
- The original position (c) to be changed to the amended position (d) with the same wording
The original position (b) to be changed to the amended position (e) with the same wording
The original position (a) to be changed to the amended position (f) with the same wording

National contributions to alleviate effects of local and provincial disasters
Clause 53
"When a municipality or a province in the event of a local or provincial disaster requests the national government to financially contribute to post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation".

It was proposed that the original positions be changed as follows:
The original position(e) to be changed to the amended position (a) the extent and severity of the disaster, and, in the event of a local or provincial disaster, whether available financial and other resources have been significantly depleted at municipal or provincial levels.
The original position (d) to be changed to the amended position (b) whether the damage resulting from the disaster … same (no ‘and’)
The original position (b) to be changed to (d)

The Committee felt that the issue of small disasters proposed by Dr. Holloway should be considered.

The meeting was adjourned.

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