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Public Works and Infrastructure on a supervision visit to inspect the progress of Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) flood intervention projects in KwaZulu Natal

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  Monitoring visit to inspect the progress of DPWI s flood intervention projects in KwaZulu Natal In April this year following the devastating floods in KwaZulu Natal province Deputy Minister Noxolo Kiviet and I led a visit to the flood affected areas to inspect damage to state property and other areas of work where the Department Public Works and Infrastructure DPWI Assistance Needed Working in conjunction with other spheres of government one of DPWI s key interventions and forms of support was the provision of built environment professionals through the State Entities that fall within the purview of the Department as well as the support provided through from the regional office on behalf of national and provincial departments A volunteer database of 304 built environment professionals was developed to be part of the teams that were made available to COGTA to assess encompass cost design and implement critical reconstruction and construction work associated with bridges highways water pluvial and other critical infrastructure Internal departmental resources were concentrated on the 53 government owned buildings in KZN province and the 12 government owned buildings in Eastern Cape province that sustained damage due to both emergency facility management services and construction projects to make them fit for purpose and usable by client departments in the shortest possible time The department has also identified suitable parcels of land to be used for the resettlement of households that have been rendered homeless and is also focusing on alternative building solutions to mitigate climate change and provide safe living spaces Before resettlement the scientific information collected was applied to establish problems such as flood lines and identify soil types that are unstable and fail as a result of heavy rainfall to ensure that resettlement households and new housing development projects are not exposed to them risks of the past This process is carried out in collaboration with key actors in the development of human settlements The process of verifying the suitability of the land parcels by the Housing Development Agency HDA is currently in the final stages Durban Air Force Base One of the key sites that DPWI had to repair was the Durban Air Force Base This job is now 100 done Works at the Air Base included repair of damaged roofs floors walls downspouts and gutters Other work now completed included replacement of generators repair of blocked sewer drains and removal of mud sludge from the slurry room at the base Other critical construction work is being scoped to secure the necessary funding This process is anticipated to be completed by the end of August 2022 DPWI State Owned Assets Numerous other state owned buildings in KZN sustained flood damage where repair work was needed at 23 pitches 18 SANDF facilities and five facilities from SAPS Work has been completed on several courts including Pietermaritzburg Mtunzini and Glencoe Magistrates Courts where leaky roofs were repaired electrical faults were repaired pumps were repaired and water was drained Roof leaks were also repaired at Phungashe Msinga Ezakheni Pinetown and Port Shepstone magistrates courts among other court buildings All repair projects on 23 damaged pitches in KwaZulu Natal have now been completed by DPWI Work to repair leaky roofs at Msombomvu SAPS Mthatha Police Academy Bolotwa SAPS Cedarville SAPS Wellington Prison Mount Ayliff Prison and Mount Ayliff Labor Center has also been completed Land Parcels A desktop analysis conducted by HDA of 258 land parcels that underwent geophysical analysis in May 2022 Additional verification was conducted by HDA to determine the suitability of the land On June 1 2022 an application was received from HDA to process 14 parcels of land that were determined suitable for housing solutions including the availability of bulk engineering services Additional ownership verification conducted on June 3 2022 revealed that of 14 parcels of land 6 are under DPWI and 8 are under the KZN provincial government Further verification of the land parcels revealed that some of the DPWI owned parcels of land were allocated for the needs of government departments and three DPWI owned parcels of land are available for resettlement by communities HDA has identified five 5 additional DPWI parcels of land that may be suitable for relocation and support for housing solutions and verification has been conducted to confirm if these properties are available for release to accommodate residents displaced In total 5 available parcels of land were confirmed and it was noted that further commitments were needed with the DPWI Regional Office DPWI is currently processing 5 properties to be released in KZN and these will be finalized as soon as possible to allow the HDA and local authorities to start the processes to resettle the displaced communities Rural Bridges One of DPWI s key interventions is the coordination of the installation of modular steel bridges known as the Welisizwe Rural Bridge Program These bridges are installed mainly in rural areas with the experience and support of the SANDF soldiers the DPWI coordinates the project and the provincial Department of Transportation allocates the funds for the installation of the bridges The installation of the bridges also provides job opportunities for residents of the affected communities through EPWP while artisans are also designated through DPWI s craft development program For the 23 bridges to be installed in KwaZulu Natal the program will have 80 community members employed through EPWP for each bridge In the KZN province construction of 18 bridges is planned for the current fiscal year However due to severe flooding an additional 5 areas were identified as needing bridges This brings the total number of bridges to be installed in KZN to 23 for this financial year DPWI began preparations for the installation of the bridges and SANDF soldiers deployed in July this year Equipment was deployed to all 23 sites to allow for the simultaneous installation of all bridges at all 23 sites Preparatory work has begun at various sites including camp establishment site cleanup and the arrival of plant construction material The bridges will be built in the townships of Nongoma Abaqulusi Umvoti Ndwedwe eThekwini Msunduzi and Impendle in KwaZulu Natal The KZN Department of Transportation has approved a budget of just over R242 million for the 23 bridges Installation of the bridges will begin in the coming weeks as soon as funds are released from the provincial department Coordination at the national provincial and local government levels under the leadership of ministers MEC and local government office holders officials is very effective and efficient demonstrating the government s ability to provide various integrated solutions to disaster Additional construction projects are currently in the planning process for acquisition with funding anticipated to be complete by the end of August 2022 Work on all other work streams is progressing well The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is actively participating in the provincial and national reporting structures and the National Joint Flood Coordination Committee The Deputy Minister and I are pleased with the progress made in recent months however there are areas where more urgency is needed to complete the repair work faster especially the installation of the rural bridges We will continue to work with all spheres of government to ensure that projects are completed and that services are delivered to the many communities in need We continue to track the progress of these projects by receiving weekly reports but Deputy Minister Kiviet and I thought it important that we return to the province to see the progress of the various projects first hand We will return to the province in the coming months to deliver bridges to communities in need and ensure they have adequate access to schools workplaces and other services
Public Works and Infrastructure on a supervision visit to inspect the progress of Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) flood intervention projects in KwaZulu Natal