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Santam, SALGA and the DCoG join forces to help municipalities tackle disaster risk management

24 April 2013 Santam

The Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, Minister Trevor Manuel, in launching the National Development Plan emphasised the importance of government partnering with business in the development efforts of the country. The effective management of

Within this context and as part of the Business-Adopt-A-Municipality (BAAM) initiative, a strategic partnership between Santam, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) was cemented through an MOU geared at building capacity within municipalities in relation to Disaster Risk Management.

Municipalities are at the face of communities, and bear the responsibility of managing the ramifications of a disaster when it strikes. Their ability to not only respond but more importantly, to mitigate the risks is required. The three parties have invested time since the signing of the MOU in 2012, engaging with municipalities gathering insights on the critical needs required for the development of an effective programme. As an outcome of these engagements the parties agreed that the response to fire-fighting would be prioritised as part of the delivery phase of the programme in 2013.

Five municipalities perceived within the national context, as emerging or secondary centres of socio-economic development and attracting migration from other small towns and rural areas were selected namely: Eden District Municipality (Western Cape), Mbombela Local Municipality (Mpumalanga), Mafikeng Local Municipality (North West), Thulamela Local Municipality (Limpopo), and Ulundi Local Municipality (KwaZulu-Natal). They will receive fire-fighting goods and equipment the value of R2 million, to be used by local fire stations. The fire-fighting equipment will be delivered to each municipality in handover ceremonies throughout the month of April which kick-start on Tuesday, 16 April 2013.

St. Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape suffered the most devastating fires in November 2012 with damages amounting to millions of Rands. Fires in informal settlements have also ravaged communities, destroying lives leaving many destitute. Local municipalities with a specific mandate in building sustainable environments and communities have to be prepared to effectively play their role of managing fires and any disaster as it emerges.
Disaster Management is one of the priorities of the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG).

The National Disaster Management Centre located within the department has invested a lot of resources year on year in managing disasters throughout the country. It has become imperative for the department to put measures in place in order to deal with disasters prior to occurrence. The Local Government Turn-around Strategy (LGTAS) approved by Cabinet in 2009 puts emphasis on partnering with the private sector to address capacity challenges in local government hence this partnership with Santam and SALGA. This support will assist municipalities to address the institutional as well as service delivery challenges in relation to disaster management that were identified during the assessments conducted in the selected municipalities.

John Melville, Risk Services executive head at Santam says the country experienced devastation last year with numerous catastrophe events that were unprecedented in their frequency and severity. Fire was a key element. “We value the need to develop meaningful ways of working with local government institutions to help communities deal with increasing risks. Fire and fire protection systems; safety and security; building regulations and building accessibility; climate change; adaptation to climate change and an increase in natural disasters, all form a suite of systemic risks, which must be addressed in a collaborated effort,” he says.

SALGA’s agenda leading to 2017 has prioritised the enhancement of capacity within its member municipalities and as the representative voice of local government is pleased to see tangible outcomes to the benefit of local government as a direct result of a partnership with SANTAM and the Department of Cooperative Governance. Local government’s task to deliver services and those as a result of disasters in this instance will be strengthened and felt in the communities of the municipalities who stand to benefit.

The BAAM programme is part of the broader implementation of the Local Government Turn-around Strategy (LGTAS) which focuses on a complete turn-around of a municipality in terms of its ability to deliver on its constitutional mandate.

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