‘R1bn Contingency Fund To Kick In When Provincial Disaster Funds Run Out’.. Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele has confirmed that provincial departments have to use their own budgets in response to last month’s flood disaster in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
The R1bn President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in declaring a national state of disaster was a contingency fund to be accessed when provincial infrastructure departments’ budget allocations for disaster had run out.
The R1bn package was also announced by minister of finance Enoch Godongwana.
“I know undoubtedly that the minister of finance has said there is [a] R1bn contingency fund which is in the coffers of [the National] Treasury. This is a fact. This is not a theory or anything,” said Gungubele on Monday.
“But the minister would have said, infrastructure departments, whenever there is a budget allocation to them, there is a portion for contingency situations, for disaster.
“Once that is done and finished they are expected therefore to access the R1bn.”
Gungubele was addressing a meeting of parliament’s ad hoc committee on flood disaster relief and recovery.
He said the provincial departments were expected to provide phase 1 relief, which mainly involves provision of immediate humanitarian relief which includes public communication and information dissemination, search and rescue or recovery, burial assistance, death certificates, post mortems, health services, psychosocial support, temporary shelter, food, personal essentials and emergency water supply.
The KZN government was assisting the national government in assessing the full costs of dealing with the effects of the disaster.
“Already no less than R25bn is a provisional assessment.”
This would cover government’s medium and long-term response to the crisis.
“We don’t want to confuse these issues — R1bn for immediate intervention is there once infrastructure departments have actually used what is traditionally allocated to them, they have to access that,” he said.
The Sunday Times reported at the weekend there was no R1bn “immediately” available to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape , as apparently promised by Godongwana.
Instead, the two provinces were asked to reprioritise their budgets – using money that would be refunded when the National Treasury approved their applications to access disaster grants.
The newspaper reported that Godongwana’s comments last month, which were later repeated by Ramaphosa, created the impression that the Treasury would allocate additional funds to help the provinces recover from the flood damage.