Local Politics

Pledges continue to pour in for KwaZulu-Natal disaster relief

FNB and Shoprite have become the latest big companies to lend a helping hand for aid in KwaZulu-Natal following the devastating floods that hit parts of the province last week.

FNB pledged over R7.5-million to the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government for holistic relief efforts in the provision of necessities such as shelter, food, medical assistance, and hygiene supplies.

The banking giant said on Thursday: “FNB is saddened by the impact of severe flooding in KZN. As corporate citizens, we recognise the importance of contributing to holistic relief efforts such as helping the vulnerable, rebuilding communities and infrastructure, and assisting impacted retail and business clients, as well as our employees.

“As a result, we are pledging in excess of R7.5-million to support humanitarian organisations in providing necessities such as shelter, food, medical and hygiene supplies to impacted communities, as well as assistance to impacted early childhood centres.”

FNB spokesperson Themba Msimango said the financial services provider is also leveraging its digital platform to enable clients and employees to donate money and eBucks to charitable causes through nav care on the FNB app.

Msimango added that flood-related claims for individuals and business clients who have insurance with the bank would also be expedited. “To ensure the continued availability of our banking services in KZN, we have accelerated the restoration of our infrastructure that was damaged by the floods,” said Msimango.

So far, 98% of the FNB branches and 95% of the ATMs in KwaZulu-Natal have been restored.

Shared Msimango: “We continue to assess the need for mobile banking solutions in communities where infrastructure restoration may take longer than anticipated.

“Our holistic relief efforts are a continuation of our ongoing commitment to promoting a culture of care, uniting South African citizens from all walks of life, and harnessing the power of collaboration and partnerships.

“In this time of need, it is vital that we join hands for the common good and remind ourselves of the spirit of ‘ubuntu’ that distinguishes our country and people.”

Shoprite also said it would donate tinned food and bottled water to the value of R500 000 after it had already dispatched mobile soup kitchens to serve more than 9 000 daily meals to those impoverished by the floods.

Shoprite said: “30 000 cans of food and 12 000 litres of water valued at R500 000 will be handed over to East Coast Radio’s Big Favour on Friday. This is over and above Shoprite’s initial donation of R30 000, as well as energy drinks and snacks for emergency and frontline relief workers.

“Essential food parcels containing rice, maize meal, cooking oil, and other non-perishables and blankets will also be distributed to affected families in partnership with Gift of the Givers and Ashraful Aid.

Sanjeev Raghubir, sustainability manager at the Shoprite Group, said Africa’s largest supermarket retailer remained in close contact with the relevant organisations assisting with relief efforts to determine aid required and how the retailer could support relief efforts.

On Wednesday, People’s Republic of China ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong handed over a donation of R1-million to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to help the victims of the floods.

Xiaodong said: “The People’s Republic of China holds hands at this poignant moment with the loving people of the Republic of South Africa.”

The board of Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation also donated R1-million to the Solidarity Fund for flood relief. Last week, Patrice Motsepe and his foundation pledged R30-million and appointed a committee to distribute the money as efficiently as possible.

The National Liquor Traders has dedicated R2-million to support liquor traders in the form of food parcels and credit allowances for restocking and rebuilding.

Lucky Ntimane, convener of the National Liquor Traders, said the organisation was working closely with its branch in KwaZulu-Natal to distinguish liquor traders who had been affected by the floods and ensure that support packages were immediately activated.

Meanwhile, North West has also been hit by floods. Heavy rains lashed Deelpan in the Tswaing local municipality and displaced more than 180 people last month. The area has experienced flooding recently again.

The premier’s office said on Thursday the village had been “affected by floods leaving hundreds of families destitute”. One person has died and livestock was swept away.

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Nompilo Zulu

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