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UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT
SPEECH IN THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES IN THE NCOP CHAMBER by PG QOKWENI, MP on the OCCASION OF THE DEBATE ON THE DEVASTATION CAUSED BY STORM IN SURREY ESTATE, MANENBERG AND GUGULETHU 02 SEPTEMBER 1999

We note with deepest sympathy the magnitude of the disaster to which the residents of Surrey Estate, Manenberg and Gugulethu have been exposed over the days.  Thanks to the various structures of civil society that made themselves ready to provide assistance.  We condemn the political bickering over the definition over the responsibilities of the Provincial and Local Governments over the areas in terms providing relief.  It would be unfair to condemn those parties who were quick to take the initiatives and use the opportunity to come to the rescue of the communities in a situation of despair.

Madam Chair, typical of residences of communities disadvantaged from the apartheid regime the buildings, some of which are occupied by old age pensioners with meagre means of survival, are falling in state of disrepair and dilapidation.  This makes them readily vulnerable in times of disaster.

We should set up a process to devise mechanisms of detecting early warnings to save us from reacting only after catastrophe has occurred.  This would demonstrate our care for the people and our responsiveness to their plight in times of need.  There should be a redefinition of the processes and procedures to make the roles and responsibilities of the Provincial and Local Governments very clear.

We appreciate, of course, that this, which started as a very bad experience, turned out tom be positive later, in that all organs of the community worked together and confronted the disaster in an integrated approach.

THANK YOU

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