Donations meant for victims of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) floods were stolen, Parliament’s ad-hoc committee learned in a briefing session on Monday.
KZN floods: Here’s what was stolen
The torrential weather claimed more than 400 lives and displaced thousands of families in what was one of the worst natural disasters to hit the province since 2019.
The likes of Nomzamo Mbatha and Charlize Theron used their respective platforms to raise funds for thousands of victims who were negatively impacted by the floods.
However, according to National Disaster Management Centre’s head, Jurgens Dyssel, some donations never reached their intended destinations.
“There were some community members in areas [who] started intercepting trucks with commodities and food parcels meant for shelters before these could actually reach their destinations.
“There were also communities in areas where they had water challenges. Those individuals mobilised themselves in protest, but we engaged with the SAPS when these became known to us,” he revealed in Parliament.
This revelation comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that every donation funnelled towards providing relief for victims impacted by the KZN floods would be audited in real-time.
“It is a great source of shame that when this disaster struck, the most burning public debate was around fears that the resources allocated to respond to this disaster would be misappropriated or wasted.
“This shows us just how tired the people of South Africa have become of corruption,” he said at the time.
No mention was made by Dyssel if there any measures were in place to deal with the element of criminality that surfaced in the handling of donations.
With regards to the province’s readiness to deal with the KZN floods, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele told MPs in the ad-hoc committee meeting that, in fact, government was ill-prepared.
“One of the challenges of this development here, the heaviest in terms of the millimetres of rain and almost unprecedented, is that we were just not ready in terms of our response. We are trying to catch up in terms of the gaps we have discovered as far as our readiness was concerned,” he said.