July 15, 2024
South Africa: Government commits more assistance to victims of flooding
– By Godswill Odiong

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Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says government is set to allocate at least R6 billion more to the rebuilding and humanitarian relief efforts in disaster-hit areas across the country.

Flooding in April this year – particularly in KwaZulu-Natal – devastated communities around South Africa, leaving at least 400 people dead and damage worth billions of Rand in the destruction of homes and infrastructure.

Godongwana was delivering the MTBPS in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

“[We] are allocating a net addition of R13 billion in spending adjustments for the 2022/23 financial year in the Adjustments Appropriation Bill. The largest adjustment – R6.3 billion, or 49% of the total – is allocated towards disaster relief, especially the April flooding in several parts of the country,” he said.

Climate change

Minister Godongwana said government is in the final stages of negotiations regarding the $8.5 billion Just Energy Transition pledge with the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union.

“[Climate] change is reshaping the world around us, including our economic context. It poses physical risks to our people, infrastructure, the environment and production including of critical goods such as food. The global response to climate must be coordinated.

“For our part, we are finalising negotiations on the pledges by the International Partner Group for the Just Energy Transition. In addition, the investment plan supporting our energy transition was recently endorsed by Cabinet. We will take all necessary steps to ensure that our transition is just,” Godongwana said.

Government is also negotiating two loans amounting to some €600 million as part of the pledge.

In the full MTBPS document, Treasury emphasised the need to build South Africa’s extreme weather resilience as climate change patterns begin to bear devastating effects.

“Poor infrastructure, urban sprawl and lack of proper planning were major contributors to the devastation in KwaZulu-Natal. Many private dwellings are built with poor materials, and drainage systems in both rural and urban areas need urgent attention to ensure that they can cope with extreme weather patterns,” the department said.

It emphasised that although it remains difficult to solely pin natural disasters on climate change, support for climate change mitigation measures will continue to feature in future budget statements.

Government is expected to publish a paper on possible tax-free allowances for public comment next year.

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