- Co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has extended the national state of disaster declared after flooding in KwaZulu-Natal, by a month.
- As was the case with the Covid-19 state of disaster, she can extend the declaration a month at a time.
- The flooding in KwaZulu-Natal was first declared a provincial disaster. Then, amid concerns about corruption, the national government stepped in.
- Dlamini Zuma provided no detail on why at least four months of special measures will be required.
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Co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Monday extended, by one month, the national state of disaster declared after deadly and destructive flooding in KwaZulu-Natal in April.
That declaration – and the broad powers it gives the national government to rule by decree – is now due to run until at least 18 August.
As with the national state of disaster declared around Covid-19, those powers automatically fall away after three months, but can be extended on a month-by-month basis, effectively indefinitely.
Dlamini Zuma provided no detail on why more time is required in a Government Gazette notice, saying only her decision was "taking into account the need to continue augmenting the existing contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster."
Besides banning the sale of roast chicken and alcohol, a national state of disaster also allows the government to free up resources of all kinds, and redirect them, with very few limitations.
The April floods in KwaZulu-Natal were initially declared a provincial disaster. Four days later, the technocratic National Disaster Management Centre said it had changed its mind after further consultation, and had "concluded that the magnitude and severity of the disaster... is greater than the initial assessment".
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That, and a simultaneous notice from Dlamini Zuma, elevated the situation to a national state of disaster. The result was to remove ultimate authority over spending from the provincial executive, and to put the national government firmly in charge – at a time of loud and widespread concern about the potential for corruption in the spending of disaster funds.
In announcing the elevation to a national state of disaster, Ramaphosa spent a significant portion of his address explaining measures to combat corruption, saying there was no room for corruption, mismanagement, or fraud.