South Africa is not ready for disasters, and the recent explosion in Johannesburg CBD has once again raised questions about the country’s preparedness in handling such emergencies. Just last month, a landspout wreaked havoc in parts of Inanda Valley, KZN, causing extensive damage to homes and buildings. Gauteng, in turn, encountered a 4.4-magnitude earthquake that shook residents awake, as per The Citizen.
The government declared a national state of disaster due to floods that affected six of the country’s nine provinces, including Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape, and Limpopo.
Political analyst Goodenough Mashego pointed out that politics played a significant role in turning these crises into full-fledged disasters. He pointed out that South Africa could not avoid such tragedies. He compared SA to more advanced nations, like the United States. The US has dedicated national agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to address disasters without the interference of bureaucracy.
Mashego highlighted the political problems where provincial leaders wield excessive power, leading to issues like bad management. He also expressed concern over allocating and utilising funds during disasters, particularly in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic. These allocations revealed the misappropriation of funds due to compartmentalisation and a lack of political will.
As a solution to the challenges faced in the wake of different disasters, Mashego stressed the need for one national agency in South Africa that could respond effectively to various emergencies, be it fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, or explosions. Such an agency would help coordinate responses and alleviate citizens’ distress with a unified approach.
Follow us on Google News.