GEORGE MARI, MPP
DA KZN SPOKESPERSON FOR COGTA
THE Democratic Alliance is alarmed by a media report which claims that KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs released incorrect emergency contact numbers on Saturday, ahead of Cyclone Irina – which was later downgraded to a tropical storm – hitting the province.
According to the report, four of the eleven numbers allocated to district disaster lines were wrong. All four numbers are within the northern KwaZulu-Natal area – the region worst affected by the Irina. In one instance an operator is alleged to have asked what a cyclone was. The claims are extremely worrying and raise serious questions around the administrative capacity of the province’s COGTA department. They are also an alarming indicator of KwaZulu-Natal’s ability to manage disaster. Latest weather reports suggest that the tropical storm may return to Northern Natal – this time even stronger. It is imperative that the MEC take immediate steps to ensure that the correct emergency contact numbers are conveyed via the relevant media. These communities cannot be left stranded for any longer.