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South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Webinar | Disaster Risk Management





Posted: 02 October 2020

Disaster management professionals and practitioners from the public and private sectors on Monday, 28 September 2020, gathered for a webinar to exchange lessons, and collectively find actionable solutions to improve emergency responses when disasters occur.

The webinar, which sought to draw the attention of the Heads of District Disaster Management Centres in all district municipalities throughout the country, also provided participants with the background information on the establishment Local Government Learning and Advisory Structure and a study to be conducted by SALGA National, on the state of readiness of municipalities on issues of disaster management, fire and emergency services.

Dr Johan Minnie, Head of the Disaster Operations Centre and Systems Integration at the City of Cape Town Disaster Management Centre (DRMC), gave a presentation on the structure of the DRMC and its role in reducing the occurrence of disasters and mitigating the impact of those it can’t.

He spoke on how the DRMC is charged with the mandate to prepare and execute the City’s Municipal Disaster Risk Management Plan, which is coordinated by a Disaster Coordinating Team (DCT), a multi-disciplinary team that executes contingency plans.

Dr Minnie explained that should a disaster or large scale-emergency occur, the DCT assembles in the Disaster Operations Centre (DOC), and acts as a central information point to provide timely and accurate information with the public.  

“Disaster risk management needs to look much wider than emergency responses and needs to look much wide than the coordination of emergency responses and that where the linkages come in,” said Dr Minnie.
“Looking at how disaster management is implemented in local government, it is really vital that there are very strong linkages such as strategic, spatial and development planning.”

Terms of Reference for the establishment of the DRM Local Government Learning and Advocacy Forum

Noyise Centane, Disaster Management Coordinator at SALGA, outlined the terms of reference for the establishment of the DRM Local Government Learning and Advocacy Forum.

Centane explained that the forum would be hosted by SALGA as secretariat and the forum to serve as an advocacy and learning platform for practitioners to exchange lessons learnt and collectively develop inputs for sector policy development.

“Members of the forum are expected to be committed in providing networking and information sharing support to the widest possible group of organizations responding to DRM issues in South Africa,” she said.
Telly Chauke, the programme’s facilitator and an Environment and Climate Change Specialist at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), closed the day’s proceedings saying that she envisioned that the insights gathered during the webinar, would lead to actionable solutions for local and regional governments, organizations and entities dealing with DRM issues in South Africa.

“There’s a need for this kind of conversation to happen and to happen frequently and I’m also mindful of the fact that it’s important to connect practitioners from different parts of the country. As much as the challenges are not the same, it’s important that you are able to learn from the other coast. If you are from the east coast, you can learn from the west coast. If you are from the west coast, you can learn from the east coast,” she said. “It’s vital for us to find this kind of connectivity across the entire community of local governments and not just based within their provinces and their own circular experiences.” 

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