Human settlements minister Mmamoloko Kubayi set tongues wagging online after reportedly telling complaining flood victims in Soweto she is not God and cannot predict disasters.
Soweto residents are picking up the pieces after heavy rain brought floods to Gauteng at the weekend.
At least 2,000 households in Soweto are estimated to have been affected by the flash floods.
The Citizen reported residents launched an attack on Kubayi after her comments about not being able to predict disasters.
The minister was quoted as saying: “I don’t know what they want me to come [to do]. If I was God, I would predict the disasters and come and protect [them], but I cannot do that.
“My responsibility is when disasters have happened to see if people are homeless and assist in providing shelter.”
Scores online slammed the minister for being “arrogant” and “insensitive”.
ActionSA Gauteng chairperson Bongani Baloyi said the party would write to Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi to ask for a provincial state of disaster be declared.
Baloyi said there is sufficient precedent for Johannesburg to be spared power cuts as eThekwini was exempt from load-shedding after floods in April.
“We implore the Gauteng government to act with haste and not wait eight months and for court filings to be made to act, as was the case in KwaZulu-Natal.
“While we appreciate flooding could not be avoided, we are equally mindful rains fell on poorly maintained infrastructure, most notably stormwater drainage systems. Of equal concern are human settlements that are irrationally built or left to mushroom on flood plains which are most affected by torrential rains,” Baloyi said.
He said all these factors contributed to a disaster and the provincial government should declare it as such so the necessary resources could be made available to assist the residents most affected.
“Local, provincial and national government need to work together to support our communities and prepare for future disasters as the effects of climate change start to become more and more frequent.”