As South Africans rally behind relief efforts to assist the flood victims of KwaZulu-Natal, we
call on authorities planning the post-flood reconstruction programmes not to repeat past
instances of the misappropriation of public funds as was the case during Covid-19 pandemic.
During that crisis, public resources were stolen under the guise of emergency procurement
processes and not used for the intended purposes. Prices were inflated and public funds were
not used in a prudent manner. Consequently, public trust in government plummeted to record
low levels. 
“Analysis of the various failures of government, especially at the local level, will follow in
the days to come. Hopefully this time, effective measures will be instituted to mitigate
damage that will arise from future weather occurrences. Climate change is a reality and must
be planned for, as it is especially the poor and vulnerable who are the main victims of the
current and future floods”, said Neeshan Balton, the Executive Director at the Ahmed
Kathrada Foundation.
South Africans must rally behind reputable relief organisations and efforts being carried out
across KZN. Check that the institution that you intend to support has a track record of service
and is contactable beyond a bank account on social media.
Public infrastructure damaged due to the floods will have to be repaired in due course. There
are likely to be significant public tenders for such reconstruction efforts, which unscrupulous
business entities will want to exploit. 
This is where business criminals and looters will be focused on in the hope that they will
personally benefit. We cannot let the Covid-19 and state capture experience go without
learning from it.
“All procurement must be made transparently and, where possible, joint civil society and
government oversight teams must be established. Regular reports on expenditure and tender
allocations must be made available and the relevant legislature committees must be
capacitated to do their oversight work over government departments”, Balton said.
Let us use the rebuilding programme to start a new process of transparent, cost effective and
participatory governance. “Trust is earned” is a well-known dictum and this is an
opportunity for government to start earning it by doing what is in the interest of the people of
KZN and not for the bank accounts of a few.
“We convey our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones as a
result of the deadly floods”, concluded Balton.



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