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Disaster management bill passed in Parliament

The disaster management amendment bill was passed in Parliament on Wednesday with the support of all parties, except the EFF.

Sand River bridge. Photo: Clive Wright

Sand River bridge. Photo: Clive Wright

The bill aims to streamline the country’s approach to planning for and responding to disasters, including the drought currently gripping many parts of the country.

It also transfers the function of disaster management from national government to municipalities.

Parties who supported the bill cited the example of the drought, which has so far led to five provinces being declared disaster areas.

IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa stressed the urgency of the bill being implemented.

National Freedom Party MP Nhlanhla Khubisa called the drought a calamity and said the bill would be essential in dealing with the disaster.

Where the money for municipalities would come from, however, remained a concern for the political parties.

DA MP Kevin Mileham said they supported the bill in principle.

“But we do wish to reiterate our concerns regarding the financing of this bill, and in particular, the potential for an unfunded mandate to be [dumped] on local municipalities by national and provincial governments.”

He said the bill was essential for an integrated approach to planning for and responding to disaster situations, such as the drought.

“We trust that this bill will go some way in ensuring that this response is quicker.”

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Hlengwa said the IFP expected funding to be made available to municipalities so they could adequately deal with disasters.

Rejecting the bill, the EFF said they did not trust the ANC to properly administer funds.

The bill has now been sent to the president for approval.

News 24

 

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