CFOs who had to navigate the KZN floods

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A look at what role CFOs played during the devastating KwaZulu-Natal floods.

Following the devastating floods that hit KwaZulu-Natal in April, CFOs took initiatives to help affected dwellers and businesses.

Spar Group and its retailers, for instance, assisted communities where the most damage and disruption was recorded. “Most importantly, we have been getting water into communities that have had water supplies disrupted for days,” said Spar CFO Mark Godfrey (featured) at the time. “We have also made financial and food donations to support groups and rescue teams.”

The damage to infrastructure accumulated to R25 billion, and Mark added that although the damage was significant to the province, and brought supply chain challenges, Spar was able to remain operational throughout the period with disruptions in deliveries being temporary.

“The damage and destruction caused by the floods has been devastating for so many people, and is almost unbelievable to comprehend – not just financially, but through loss of life and personal tragedy,” he said.

Mark shared his condolences with the grieving families: “What started as a rain shower destroyed whole communities and left families destitute and grieving,” he said. “To the people of KwaZulu-Natal, we share your pain at this time and while the storm clouds might have passed, we know the painful memories and grief are still very real. But time will heal and communities will comfort. Be strong and let’s rebuild a better, stronger KwaZulu-Natal.”

Read more: Rebuilding KZN

Supply chain impact
Condolences continued to pour from many company leaders as the death toll continued to hit a high of 461 people.

Pulp and paper company Sappi CFO Glen Pearce said: “Sappi is deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastating impact of these floods on the people of KwaZulu-Natal.”

Sappi’s production was not spared from the impact as Saiccor, Tugela and Stanger Mills, along with export facilities at the Durban Port, had been affected by the floods.

“Production has been stopped, some inventory is damaged, and deliveries to domestic customers have been affected,” Glen said.

He added that shipping lines confirmed that export shipments were also negatively impacted. “Although the disruption to production and customer deliveries were outside our control, we will make every effort to minimise the negative impact on our customers,” Glen said.

Read more: Sappi navigates KZN floods

Calls for relief
Following the damage felt by the province, eThekwini CFO Sandile Mnguni told Parliament on 24 August that the municipality suffered R5.7 billion in damages due to the floods.

“Our damages for the city are about R3.9 billion, most of which relates to road infrastructure, which amounted to about R2.1 billion,” he said. “Water and sanitation are about R1.1 billion and about R700 million relates to electricity, infrastructure and other assets.” R1.6 billion of the damages related to human settlements.

He explained that the city had received close to R1 billion in insurance claims and would need about R3 billion from the National Treasury to continue to service infrastructure. “When you look at our roads, we are servicing about 10,000km, sanitation is close to 8,000km, and water pipeline is about 12,600. That's the extent of the challenges we are dealing with, so we do need that support from [national government].”

Read More: Ethekwini CFO calls for relief

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