A framework for disaster risk reduction for local government : a case study of eThekwini Municipality.
Duze, Mthokozisi Pius.
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South Africa has seen a progressive development of proactive disaster management policy and legislation, all of which were primarily designed to facilitate progress with respect to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). The main purpose of the study was to assess the planning and implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies at a local government level. The eThekwini Municipality in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal was used as a local case study. Based on a local case study analysis, the current study primarily aimed to present a critical assessment of disaster risk reduction practices in order to develop a corrective framework for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction within the local government setting. A qualitative case-study design was used as the primary paradigm. To achieve this, study participants were purposively selected from a multi-discipline source-population that included municipal disaster management practitioners, councillors and relevant departments within the municipality. Analysis of emergent data was conducted via a combination of descriptive statistical and content analysis. The study findings showed that the eThekwini Disaster Management Centre has noteworthy capacity constraints, particularly with respect to the staff complement and technical capacity. This is evident in a number of service shortcomings, including the existence of incomplete plans and frameworks coupled with the absence of important institutional arrangements, such as a fully functional Disaster Management Advisory Forum. The municipal approach to disaster management operated on reactive rather than proactive tenets as evident from the lack of a disaster management plan informed by a disaster risk assessment. Integral to the theory development phase, the study proposed a practice framework and also offered a number of recommendations that can assist local government to improve and enhance mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction into their core business. The framework proposes the alignment of disaster risk reduction planning with the municipal Integrated Development Planning (IDP) processes in a way that will ensure that disaster reduction initiatives are included in the legal, financial and sound planning mechanisms. This will begin by building and strengthening of municipal disaster management capacity and important disaster management institutional arrangements such as the interdepartmental committee and the advisory forum to facilitate engagement with all relevant stakeholders.