De Lille says 283 land spaces identified to relocate KZN communities displaced by floods

24 May 2022 - 18:30
By Andisiwe Makinana
KwaZulu-Natal faces a mammoth rebuild task after damage wrought by floods in the province, including this 15m-wide hole where a bridge once stood in Ntuzuma. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu CARNAGE KwaZulu-Natal faces a mammoth rebuild task after damage wrought by floods in the province, including this 15m-wide hole where a bridge once stood in Ntuzuma. File photo.

Public works and infrastructure minister Patricia de Lille has revealed that more than 280 land parcels have been identified in KwaZulu-Natal for the resettlement of communities displaced by the devastating floods in the province last month.

De Lille told parliament on Tuesday her department has identified 258 land parcels and 25 land parcels have been identified by the provincial department of public works and human settlements. The land was being assessed for suitability to relocate people by the housing development agency.

The minister was tabling her department’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year to parliament.

She said departmental resources will also focus on 53 government-owned buildings in KwaZulu-Natal and 12 in the Eastern Cape damaged by the floods to make them usable.

To date, 52 sites in KwaZulu-Natal are in need of bridges. Construction of the first 18 bridges in that province will begin on June 1, said De Lille.

In the Eastern Cape, technical assessments have been done at 20 bridge sites.

De Lille said her department has reassigned more capacity to assist the two provinces’ departments of transport and affected municipalities in this regard.

In his state of the nation address in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced government would be upscaling its Welisizwe rural bridges programme and will build 95 bridges in the new financial year.

De Lille said these would be constructed in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the North West, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

“Earlier this month, together with the minister of defence and military veterans [Thandi Modise] and the KwaZulu-Natal department of public works, we handed over the latest three completed bridges in KwaZulu-Natal,” she said.

De Lille said as part of the reconstruction efforts in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, after the floods, a database of more than 300 built environment professionals has been made available to the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs to help assess, cost, design and implement critical reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

She acknowledged that recent events laid bare the importance of infrastructure and ensuring the government does not only build new infrastructure but maintains existing facilities while taking the severe impacts of climate change into consideration.

De Lille said the infrastructure investment plan, which was central to the economic reconstruction and recovery plan and aimed at creating jobs, has started bringing the construction industry back to life.

About the national infrastructure plan (NIP) 2050 gazetted in March, De Lille said this was a long-term plan for infrastructure development across the country to ensure there is the necessary long-term view regarding infrastructure to drive economic and social transformation to achieve national development plan goals and beyond.

“We have started the implementation of the first three years of the NIP 2050.”

She said an additional R1.6-trillion in public sector infrastructure investment is required by 2030, over and above what is forecast for current public sector entities.

“This will be achieved by, among other efforts, building private sector confidence in the capacity and capability of the state to deliver bankable public infrastructure projects.”