It is distressing that the Sedibeng District Municipality currently has no operational Disaster Management Centre (DMC) due to organizational budget constraints.
With no functioning DMC in this District Municipality, it means that there will be a significant delay in the response of the local district municipality to any disaster that may arise. One can only hope that what we saw recently in Kwa Zulu Natal will not hit Sedibeng.
This information was provided in a reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile.
According to the MEC, the Sedibeng District Municipality is still waiting for a meeting to be scheduled by the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) and the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) to request funding as per the outcome and recommendations of the functionality assessment with the PDMC.
This puts the lives of our residents who are living in this District Municipality at risk, as they will now have much longer waiting times and may have to rely on volunteers from the community should an emergency break out.
Ironically, millions of rands have been spent on paying staff salaries from the budget allocated to the Sedibeng Disaster Management Centre. According to MEC Maile, R7 315 678.00 of the allocated R7 511 661.00 budgeted for the DMC, has been spent on paying staff salaries. One can then ask what they have been doing, to earn their salaries, if the Disaster Centre is not operational.
What is even more worrying about this matter is that in a separate reply to questions tabled by the DA regarding Disaster Management Centres in the province, MEC Maile indicated that Sedibeng does have a DMC and even provided a physical address, which is in clear conflict with the reply I received, which indicated that there is no physical address for the DMC.
This is a clear confirmation that MEC Maile and his officials do not know what is happening in their own department and the local municipalities as far as Disaster Management Centers are concerned and leave me with no other choice as to question the validity of answers to our questions when conflicting information is supplied by the MEC and officials from COGTA.
I will be engaging directly with MEC Maile on this matter and push for Sedibeng to receive the money needed to have a fully functioning and effective DMC.