The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) today calls on Premier Sihle Zikalala to appoint an independent body to provide an accurate assessment of costs relating to recent flood damage in the province.
The move comes after conflicting reports from the ANC-run provincial government regarding the monetary value of urgent repair work.
Earlier this week, the people of KZN were officially informed by the Office of the Premier (OTP) that the estimated flood damage would cost in the region of R950 billion. This was followed by a late night correction – which saw the figure drop to R17 billion – accompanied by a lame apology for the error.
If a mistake of this magnitude was made once, it can be made again. KZN’s government has a dismal track record when it comes to the spending of disaster relief funding. Nothing seems to have changed this time around.
Regrettably, this is not an isolated incident. The Premier’s overall conduct during the past two weeks has also been riddled with question marks.
Firstly, there is his initial denial of a water tanker being parked outside his house, for the exclusive use of his family. The denial extended to accusations that the video footage had been digitally manipulated. Just two days later, the Premier admitted his blunder and issued an apology to the people of KZN.
Then the Premier advised me that the reason why eThekwini Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, was missing in action at the height of the floods was because he had flu. This was promptly followed by a statement from the Mayor’s office, detailing his extensive involvement during the crisis.
The DA also notes that some of the areas included in flood damage estimates did not experience heavy rains two weeks ago. The question is – what damage is this exactly?
It is clear that nothing that comes out of the mouth of the Premier and his ANC-led provincial government can be trusted.
The appointment of an independent auditor is the only way that the DA will have any faith in the Premier’s commitment to transparency and accountability. Until then, they remain hollow words.
The DA in KZN is committed to protecting public funds and to ensuring that governments hyenas and vultures are kept at bay. We will continue to work to ensure that those most affected by the recent disastrous floods are given priority, along with the rebuilding of our economy in order to ensure jobs.
We assure the people of our province that our Legislature caucus will do everything in its power to monitor KZN’s recovery programme right down to the last few rands and cents.