eThekwini lost R737 million, businesses fight to stay afloat

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eThekwini Municipality, along with the rest of KwaZulu-Natal, is still evaluating the extent of the damages of the recent disastrous floods. According to preliminary reports, the municipality has lost R737 million in gross domestic product (GDP) since 14 April.

A STAGGERING AMOUNT OF BUSINESSES AFFECTED

Businesses leaders across sectors in eThekwini met with the municipality to assess the current herculean task of rebuilding the city.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda says eThekwini is one of the hardest-hit districts in the province as all of the 111 wards suffered from the torrential downpours and their aftermath.

He explained that over 1 000 businesses located within eThekwini’s floodplain were affected – 38% are businesses within the manufacturing sector, 32% in the wholesale and retail trade and a further 11% are in government.

“The floods have claimed over 400 lives and disrupted business operations so severely that many had to cease operations. Preliminary estimates indicate that the loss to the eThekwini GDP since 14 April is R737 million. This is excluding the replacement value of damaged or destroyed properties which is expected to run into billions of rands,” he said.

ALSO READ: KZN Floods: African Union donates over R2 million in solidarity

WHAT MAKES UP THE R737 MILLION TOTAL?

During a mayoral engagement presentation with business, eThekwini broke down the findings of the preliminary data from a survey conducted by the City’s Economic Development Unit.

eThekwini Municipality, KZN floods, business
A screenshot of the mayoral business engagement between eThekwini and leaders in the sector. It provides a breakdown of the business affected by the recent floods.

The data suggest that the most affected sectors of the economy are manufacturing with an estimated damage of R 431M, agriculture R12.6M, construction R18M, wholesale and retail R46M, and warehousing and logistics R33M. A further 110 small businesses were impacted with an estimated damage of R20M.

“As eThekwini rebuilds, the focus is on clearing roads and supporting other units and emergency services where necessary. The current priority for the Roads and Stormwater Maintenance Department is to open access along major roads. This will allow access to repair water and electricity infrastructure,”

said Mayor Kaunda.

REBUILDING EFFORTS BY ETHEKWINI

Kaunda added that progress has been made by eThekwini in opening access to the Durban Container Terminal and Island View Precincts.

“The City has relaxed by-laws to allow for the use of Bluff, Lighthouse, Iran, and Tara roads to provide alternative access to the container terminal and Island View. This commenced on 15 April. The priority was on the movement of fuel supplies and essential goods, such as food and pharmaceuticals. While there are still challenges related to water supply, there have been improvements in some areas. Durban South and some areas in the North remain two of the most impacted areas. Water challenges in these two regions are due to extensive infrastructure damage which requires a full upgrade. This could take a few months. As an interim measure, the City is procuring a package plant that will purify raw water from the source and utilise Hazelmere Dam as an alternate supply. In this, eThekwini is working with Umgeni Waterm”

said the mayor.

While businesses across all regions in eThekwini have been affected, business in the southern industrial basin has been the hardest hit, with large industries still without power. However, Kaunda assured that the cleaning of substations and electrical repairs are well underway.

“Several substations have been cleared and are currently undergoing repairs. Further testing and inspection still need to be done before being switched on. The Bayhead Substation has been cleaned and is awaiting testing before being switched on.”

he said.

READ MORE: KZN floods: eThekwini fill 40 000 bags after Easter beach clean-ups

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