13 June 2018

South Africa: Minister Zweli Mkhize - Parliament Briefing On Performance of Provincial and Municipal Disaster Grants From Inception to Date

press release

Minister's briefing on the performance of the Provincial and Municipal Disaster Grants from inception to date, V476, Old Assembly Wing, Cape Town

Chairperson of the Select Committee

Honourable Members of the Select Committee

Thank you for the opportunity provided to interact with the Select Committee on Appropriations as per the invitation dated 30 May 2018 entitled: Provincial and Municipal Disaster Grants Performance from inception to date. Our report will precisely cover that scope of the topic.

Honourable Chairperson and members, it is worth noting that the presentation takes place exactly on the last day of the period during which a national state of drought disaster was declared since 13 March 2018.

I would like to inform the Committee that I have decided not to renew the State of the National Drought Disaster when it lapses today. However, the existing classification of a national disaster remains in force with the implication that the national executive will still be responsible for the coordination of the drought interventions listed above under the aegis of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) on drought and water scarcity. The IMTT will issue regular updates about the developments in this regard.

It will be noted from the report that the disaster grants we will be briefing members about continue to contribute to making a positive impact in reversing the negative effects of various disasters including the current drought gripping most parts of our country.

Honourable Chairperson and committee members, it is important to acknowledge the Constitution of the Republic (Act 108 of 1996) as a point of departure on the role of the role of the disaster grants to be reported about today.

To be specific, Section 24 in Chapter 2 of the Constitution on the Bills of Rights states:

"Everyone has a right: (a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being; and (b) to have the environment protected for the benefit of the present and future generations... ... ".

Within this context, the Disaster Management Act 2002 (Act 57 of 2002) establishes a Disaster Risk Management system which is founded on key measures notably:

Prevention; Preparedness; Mitigation, and Emergency Response.

Given the fact that disasters are by their nature unforeseen and often unavoidable, the disaster grants were introduced by Parliament since the 2010/11 financial year in order to ensure that there is sufficient resources to provide emergency response in the face of disasters.

As key principles of the grants, it is critical to note that they are not implemented as a first line of defence in the face of disasters but they only come in to complement resources of affected sector departments, provinces and municipalities once they have activated their contingency measures and exhausted their financial resources.

Notable also is that the grants are administered jointly by the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) and the National Treasury (NT) and are meant to be spend over a period of three (3) months following allocation.

These grants are structured in three categories, notably:

The Provincial Disaster Grant; the Municipal Disaster Grants, and the Municipal Disaster Recovery Grant.

The structure of the report will cover the legal and operational perspectives of the grants encapsulating the following areas:

The guiding principles for disaster finding;

The processing of applications and the administration of the grants;

Allocation of grants from their inception to date;

Financial and non-financial performance for the allocated projects;

How the grants are monitored and the support provided by the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) through the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC);

Challenges encountered in monitoring and implementing the grants;

Remedial measures and improvements to the administration of the grants.

From the report Honourable members will notice that since the inception of the grants in 2010/11 financial year a total of R4, 569, 700, 000.00 (Four Billion Five Hundred Sixty Nine Million and Seven Hundred Thousands) was set aside of which an amount of R1, 473, 200.000.00 (One Billion Four Hundred Seventy Three Million and Two Hundred Thousand) was spent on various disasters across the country.

These figures are broken down as follows:

While the depicted spending trend might appear to be low, Honourable members will appreciate that the disaster grants are not meant to be a first line of defence but are only activated once the resources of relevant sectors, national and provincial departments as well as municipalities have been exhausted.

Furthermore, government has on several occasions allocated funds to deal with various disasters drawing from the contingency reserve as well as reprioritisation of funds by various sector departments and municipalities. There are also projects which are currently being implemented using the disaster grants dealing with drought in the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape provinces.

This is important measure and key to compliance with the Public Finance Management Act 1999 (Act 1 of 1999) by ensuring the elimination of duplications and wastages in the use of state resources.

The report will therefore outline lessons learnt as well as challenges encountered and how these are being addressed to ensure that the grants continue to make a meaningful impact on the lives of our people particularly the vulnerable sectors of our society in advancing the Thuma Mina approach within the provisions of our Constitution.

I thank you for your attention.

Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance

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