The Head of the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), Dr Elias Sithole, has officially classified the recent weather events affecting the Eastern Cape (EC), Free State (FS), and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) as a national disaster. This decision follows detailed presentations and assessments conducted by the South African Weather Service (SAWS), the Provincial Disaster Management Centres (PDMCs), and other relevant state organs, which confirmed the widespread and severe nature of the weather events.

The severe weather events, including floods, strong winds, tornadoes, and snowfalls, were all triggered by a single weather system known as a cutoff low. This unified weather system has resulted in significant devastation across the three provinces. The intensity and potential severity of these events has caused death, injury, disease, significant damage to property, extensive damage to infrastructure, and environmental degradation. The NDMC’s assessments indicated that the scale of these occurrences has surpassed the capacity of the affected communities to manage the disaster using their own resources.

In accordance with Section 23(6) of the Disaster Management Act (DMA), the NDMC has classified this situation as a national disaster due to its impact on at least three provinces. This classification has been effective since 5 June 2024, and notifications have already been sent to the affected provinces. An official notice has also been published in the Government Gazette. As stipulated by sections 26 and 23 of the DMA, the primary responsibility for coordinating and managing this disaster now lies with the national executive, which will utilize existing legislation and contingency plans to address the crisis.

Accordingly, all state organs are urged to provide additional support to existing institutions in order to implement contingency plans and ensure that measures are in place to enable national government to deal with the disaster’s ramifications.

The contingency plans and measures will be executed within the prescribed existing legislation and or respective contingency arrangements developed to deal with the disaster.

The NDMC urges all citizens in the affected areas to follow safety guidelines and directives from local authorities. The Centre is committed to working collaboratively with provincial and national bodies to ensure a swift and effective response to mitigate the impact of these disasters.

Arccodingly, in terms of the law, a classification will be followed by the declaration of disaster which is done by the Minister of CoGTA.

The Minister of CoGTA emphasised that the goal of government is to insure that lives and livelihoods are being protected. To this effect the rest of government has been mobilised to provide the much required relief to the affected communities.

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Issued by the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs