Programme director: MEC for COGTA, Ms Bongi Sithole-Moloi
Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Ms. Thembisile Nkadimeng
Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Mr. Parks Tau
Gauteng MEC for COGTA: Mr Mzi Khumalo
Heads of delegation from BRICS partner countries
Senior government officials present
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Good morning. Sanibonani
The Fourth Meeting of BRICS Ministers for Disaster Management comes at a time when countries around the world are grappling with a number of natural disasters. Whether it is floods, tornados, or wildfires – we are seeing an increase in the frequency of these catastrophic events.
Therefore, we are delighted today that we have in our midst key policy makers, government, academia, and experts looking at various ways to build resilient communities.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the people of eThekwini Municipality, we would like to extend the warmest welcome to you all. We want to reiterate that it is truly a distinct honour and privilege for the city of Durban to have been chosen as a host of various crucial BRICS engagements recently.
As a city that has experienced its fair share of catastrophic floods in the recent past, we are eager to work with all relevant stakeholders to find innovative and effective ways to build a more resilient infrastructure. We want to take advantage of some of the technological advances that we see from BRICS partners as we adapt to the new reality.
Because we are a coastal city, we are constantly seeking ways to develop strategies and programmes to protect us from the rising sea levels. Both as the leadership and residents of eThekwini Municipality, we are called upon to work together to create a conducive environment for future generations to inherit a clean and sustainable world.
We must state that the recent flood and fire disasters we have witnessed have reminded us of the urgency with which we need to act so that we are able to prevent the loss of lives and livelihoods. Furthermore, we are convinced that for us to succeed, communities should be central and drive programmes of action on the ground.
Having implemented the Forecast Early Warning System, we saw first-hand the benefits of this initiative as it was instrumental in saving lives during the floods. The success can be attributed to the partnership that the municipality has established with community leaders across the municipality and the academic institutions, particularly the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Programme director, it is our hope that the discussions and proposals from this forum will influence the position that will be adopted by the BRICS partners to address the many challenges we face as communities.
We must come together to build a solid foundation for global solidarity that encourages activists at grassroots level to work towards building sustainable communities. It is imperative that government – at national, provincial, and local level, finds creative ways to empower community structures to play a meaningful role in how we build better and smarter.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are millions of people across the world who see BRICS as a catalyst for a just and a more equal world order. Therefore, this gathering must yield positive outcomes that bring hope to the voiceless and the most disenfranchised in our society. Let us make sure that these meetings promote cooperation and strengthen mutual understanding among friends for equal benefit.
In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how interconnected and interdependent we are as the global community. It has further exposed the high-levels of poverty and inequality in our society as the poor and most vulnerable in our community often bear the brunt of disasters. Therefore, as we reimagine the world post disasters, we must ensure that we also build an inclusive economy where we all have equal opportunities.
In conclusion, we look forward to learning from our counterparts from different parts of the world and we have no doubt that the BRICS family will only grow stronger.
It is also our hope that you have had a chance to explore our beautiful city and the unique cultural diversity that makes Durban a melting pot of cultures. We look forward to seeing you come again to relax as tourists soon.
I thank you