Scores of families are still reeling following the deadly floods and the subsequent damage to property. More than 300 people have died so far and the death toll is rising.
Homeowners, business people, farmers, and other property owners in KwaZulu-Natal are counting the cost of the damage by the floods. Many are trying to figure out how to get back on track after their homes and businesses were destroyed.
KwaZulu-Natal’s economy has been on a slow recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, the July unrest, and the cyber-attack on the port. Now the damage from the floods has brought most businesses in the province to a halt.
Durban Business Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President, Mpume Langa says this could lead to another rise in the already record-high rate of unemployment.
“This devastating impact logically speaking could lead to unemployment.”
Transformation Manager at the South African Insurance Association, Zanele Gigaba has assured businesses and residents in the province that insurance will pay out all legitimate claims. The association says insurance companies have enough money to cover payments to claimants.
“Five years ago there was the same event in KZN where there were severe floods that occurred around November. So, this has already been built-in into the policies and also into the premiums, when these things occur then those arrangements kick in and they allow the industry to be able to recoup monies from the insurers.”
Meanwhile, the agricultural sector, which was heavily impacted by both the July unrest and the port cyber-attack last year is faced with yet another blow. This industry relies heavily on imports and exports via the Durban ports. With the roads to the ports being closed, the sector is faced with delays in delivery that could affect their revenues.
Chief Executive Office of the Citrus Growers Association Justin Chadwick says it has not yet heard of any reports of damage from the citrus sector. However, says it remains cautious.
“The impact really if you look at it in sections the N3 main highway was closed a bit on Monday because of the mudslides but that’s all opened up now. So, in terms of routing vehicles from the north to Durban South that doesn’t seem to be a problem but it’s only once you get to the Durban precinct that you start coming across the problems, and really the biggest problem is the wash away of the bridge.”
The floods have damaged some of the main access roads around the Durban Port, container yards, and depots. This has led to major oil companies suspending operations. The question is will the rest of the country soon feel the impact of the delays in deliveries?
At the same time, Treasury is expected to release funds to assist anyone that has been impacted by this natural disaster.
SABC News Nozintombi Miya reports scenes of devastation in the province as residents count their losses: