Tag: KZN

Supply chains suffer in flood aftermath

By Siphelele Dludla for IOL

Image credit: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

The business sector has welcomed the declaration of a National State of Disaster to tackle the severe economic impact of the floods which resulted in deaths, damage to infrastructure and loss of production.

Last week’s devastating floods left untold destruction and at least 443 people dead while almost 50 others are unaccounted for.

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) yesterday (TUES) said the declaration of a disaster signalled the seriousness with which the government was tackling the task, as well as the lessons learned from the emergency responses in the last few years.

BLSA chief executive Busi Mavuso said urgent lifesaving support must be a priority, but it was important that businesses and the authorities also focus on restoring transport connections.

“The search and recovery effort is clearly the priority, while also bringing immediate relief to those who are vulnerable,” Mavuso said.

“But it is also important that we swiftly deal with the economic impact of the floods, particularly to unlock key logistics routes. The recovery thereafter is going to be critical as we rebuild infrastructure.”

Mavuso said that unnecessary delays in resuming normal operations meant a greater cost to the economy, resulting in lost employment and revenue.

“However, even properly maintained infrastructure cannot meet the effects of climate change,” she said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night declared a national state of disaster to ensure an effective response to the extreme weather events.

Extreme flooding in KZN and in some parts of Eastern Cape a week ago left nearly 4 000 homes completely destroyed and more than 8 300 others partially damaged.

It is also estimated that more than 40 000 people have been displaced by the floods.

Supply chains were disrupted as damage to Bayhead Road which handles 13 000 heavy vehicles per day, prevented access to the Port of Durban.

“The damage caused to businesses in the area has not been fully quantified, but assessments so far suggest that the eThekwini Metro accounts for nearly half of all the reported damage,” Ramaphosa said.

“The Port of Durban – which is one of the largest and busiest shipping terminals on the continent and which is vital to our country’s economy – has been severely affected.”

Bank of America’s sub-Saharan Africa economist Tatonga Rusike said agriculture and mining were two key sectors that could be directly affected by disruption at the port.

“Movement of coal exports has already been facing structural constraints with Transnet rail system limiting amount of production volumes,” Rusike said.

“Shipping containers have been displaced and affected Transnet’s decision to halt operations temporarily. The Port of Durban is also a regional hub for goods including vehicle exports and imports for neighboring countries.”

Ramaphosa vowed to prevent corruption, mismanagement and fraud in the R1 billion funding that will be appropriated to provide relief and to rebuild KZN.

Corruption Watch executive director Karam Singh said the best way to ensure that funds were correctly allocated and spent, was to have systems in place that allow government, oversight bodies and civil society to monitor the allocations and spending.

“There must be absolute transparency and full disclosure of how these funds are being distributed, ensuring that they reach the communities for whom they are intended,” Singh said.

“The Auditor-General must be activated to do real time audits of spending, in a potentially effective and appropriate preventative measure that should be used in this instance.”

 

By Nokukhanya N Mntambo for Jacaranda FM

Some major retail outlets across the country have rushed to close their doors out of fear of being hit by looters.

Several Makro stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have been gutted by fire after their shelves were emptied.

The brazen attacks come amid rising tensions in both provinces with some communities coming out in their numbers to rob businesses in broad daylight.

Makro says it has closed its doors until further notice.

Health and beauty retailers Clicks says it will also close some of its stores indefinitely.

“Due to unrest in KZN and Gauteng, some stores will be closed until further notice for the safety of our staff and customers.”

See affected Clicks stores here.

Image credit: ANA

Source: Business Insider SA

Vodacom has invested R100 million in its Rural Coverage Acceleration Programme.

This has brought mobile network coverage to remote regions in South Africa, with 82 cell phone towers deployed in KwaZulu-Natal alone since 2018.
These base stations are strategically placed to cover rural schools, community halls, and taxi ranks.
The newfound reception is also making a dent in cross-border crimes, with better communication around Lesotho, Mozambique, and eSwatini.
For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Mobile network coverage is being brought to far-flung regions of KwaZulu-Natal as part of Vodacom’s Rural Coverage Acceleration Programme. Nearly R100 million has already been invested in 84 new base station sites, with the company targeting 95% 4G coverage in the province by the end of 2022.

South Africa’s biggest mobile network provider is on a mission to cover the most remote regions of KwaZulu-Natal over a three-year period. The programme has already benefited nine district municipalities and 14 local municipalities which previously had no mobile network connectivity.

The programme was introduced in 2018 with the aim of connecting “villages which have never experienced the various economic and societal benefits of cell phone connectivity.” The rollout began with the installation of 2G/3G capable sites in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga. These base stations were quickly upgraded to 4G, with faster and more reliable coverage expanding into KwaZulu-Natal.

“The majority of the sites were allocated to small black-owned businesses to build,” noted Vodacom in detailing its rural programme and the inclusion of small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMME).

“Vodacom is empowering these companies to become mobile tower operators, whereby they will build the sites and Vodacom will lease them back in return.”

Remote regions which have recently been connected to Vodacom’s mobile coverage network include the uMhlabuyalingana local municipality, in the northern most part of KwaZulu-Natal which borders Mozambique, and Mandeni, between Richard’s Bay and Durban.

Vodacom is deploying a further 29 towers to 14 municipalities within the next year, with a specific focus on covering rural schools, community halls, and taxi ranks. This includes extending the network to rural areas within the uPhongolo municipality, which borders eSwatini, and Okhahlamba in the Drakensberg mountains which borders Lesotho.

Pupils in rural schools near Kwamshudu, Sithembile, and Mathulini have, for the first time, been able to connect to the internet via their smartphones. In addition to creating new educational opportunities, the coverage is also assisting job hunters who can now access listings and correspond with potential employers on their mobile phones.

It’s also introduced the ease of mobile banking, reducing the need for residents to travel long distances from rural settlements into town.

Extending mobile network coverage to remote areas also aids crimefighting operations, according to Vodacom. Community Service Centres are now able to communicate more effectively, especially with regards to cross-border crimes around eSwatini, Mozambique, and Lesotho.

 

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