eThekwini Municipality Birchwood

The state of many parts of eThekwini and surrounds as a result of the KZN floods.
Photo: KZN Gov

South Africa BACK in a national State of Disaster – what does it mean?

South Africa wasn’t out of its State of Disaster restrictions for more than two weeks – here’s what the latest declaration means for us.

eThekwini Municipality Birchwood

The state of many parts of eThekwini and surrounds as a result of the KZN floods.
Photo: KZN Gov

Given that we’ve just spent more than two years living in a national State of Disaster, the concept probably doesn’t take that much explaining. However, South Africa is now back under an emergency framework.

What does going back into a State of Disaster mean for SA?

President Ramaphosa declared on Monday evening that the only appropriate response to the KZN floods was to declare a State of Disaster for the whole country. A provincial measure was already in place, but Cyril has decided to take things up a notch, revealing that roughly 40 000 people had been displaced by the extreme weather event.

Around 450 people have lost their lives as a result of the flooding, and it goes down as one of the worst natural disasters in South African history. Therefore, Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation that a larger response was needed.

“To ensure an effective response to these tragic events, the National Disaster Management Centre last week classified the flooding as a provincial disaster. This was followed by the declaration of the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal to invoke extraordinary measures to deal with the situation. This is now a national State of Disaster.”

“It is estimated that more than 40,000 people have been displaced by these floods. The significance of the port of Durban and related infrastructure for the effective operation of the country’s economy means that this disaster has implications far beyond the province of KwaZulu-Natal.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Monday 18 April

KZN set to receive ‘more money, more help’

So, what does declaring a national State of Disaster actually do? It essentially makes emergency protocols easier to enact, allowing for a swifter response to a tragic situation. Here are the key factors in the declaration.

  • KZN’s provincial and municipal governments will now receive support from the national government.
  • A national State of Disaster allows for more relief funds to flow into KZN.
  • This provides an immediate boost to capability, and the technical expertise that can now be used.