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DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT REGULATIONS

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					             DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT REGULATIONS

                By Henk van Elst (Honorary member, DMISA)

1. INTRODUCTION.

After many discussions with officials from the department of Provincial and Local
Government at national level, the final draft on the first set of regulations were
submitted in late August 2005. On 9 September 2005 the draft was published in the
Government Gazette. (Gazette number 27991, volume 483, page 65 onwards).
Public/stakeholder comments on the draft had to be in by 30 September 2005, which
was less then the normal 30 days usually provided for. Delegates must further
remember that this paper is based on the final version that I submitted, as published.
It is further hoped that soon after the conference, that the final adopted regulations
will be published, thus allowing all to meaningfully attend to some of the priority
disaster risk management issues that may still have been left in abeyance.
This paper aims at providing delegates with:
      A brief historic overview;
      Why new regulations had to be put together;
      Additional explanations on key aspects of the regulations;
      Comparative improvements as against regulations that did apply in terms of
         previous legislation.
Papers on legal matters hardly read like novels, especially to non-legal persons, and
an attempt is made to at least make it a little more “user friendly” and hopefully that
is achieved!

2. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW.

Previously all provinces and municipalities had to implement Civil Defence in terms
of Act 67 of 1977. This was aimed at ensuring that the function would be entrenched
for essential aspects that need to be addressed by all stakeholders and role players, in
order to predominantly, attend to the consequences of a disaster should it occur.
Preparedness was accordingly an important issue. It further made provision for the
State President to make regulations that would address “compensation in respect of
death, bodily injury or disablement of certain persons”. (which was published with
regard to volunteers).
On 21 June 1990, the Civil Defence Amendment Act (Act 82 of 1990) was published.
In this the title of the function was changed to “civil protection” (as the previous title
could be misinterpreted as having some military connotations with the word
“defence”).
As a result of Act 67 of 1977, which took effect on either 1 February 1978 or 1April
1978, depending on which province this was made applicable to, each province also
published ordinances (in the case of the old Transvaal, Ordinance 20 of 1977). These
Ordinances were basically standardized for each province and provided for the
possible establishment of a volunteer corps, in order to address the steps to be taken
by municipalities for purposes of achieving the various Provincial Ordinances (and


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Act). Regulations were published to compel municipalities to establish a corps, as
well as the requirements before any person could be considered to become a member.
Registers had to be maintained on all volunteers, but the actual structures that had to
be created, was largely left to the relevant municipality, although for what purpose
members of the public could volunteer for, were listed.
It is interesting to note that the Disaster Management Act (Act 57 of 2002) repeals the
previous legislation, except for section 9 of the Civil Protection Act, which addresses
the death, injury or disablement of persons involved in what is now disaster
management and that this thus remains in force until the new draft regulations are
adopted.

3. WHY NEW REGULATIONS WERE DEEMED NECESSARY.

Disaster (risk) management is a far more realistic approach and should result in a
considerable more cost effective implementation of attending to hazards and actual
disasters. It makes sense, as to only plan predominantly for dealing with the
consequences of a disaster (Civil Protection approach) is not the best way, if it could
have been prevented. The Disaster Management Act makes no bones about it that we
need to plan far more, for prevention and mitigation without neglecting the need to
effectively deal with the consequences of a disaster. Volunteers should accordingly
also be recruited that could assist with creating greater awareness and towards
achieving the reduction in the occurrence of disasters.
The previous regulations were furthermore based on only addressing the requirements
of old legislation. During the latter’s implementation it also became clear that not all
volunteer issues were adequately given sufficient attention, which resulted in
frustrated volunteers and amongst many, a reluctance to become one .
The Disaster Management Act also refers to (any other) regulations that may be made
by the Minister that would not be inconsistent with the Act. It was accordingly agreed
to (as a departure point) to publish regulations on the minimum required information
pertaining to prevention; mitigation and development projects, in order to be able to
monitor progress using standardised information throughout South Africa. Similarly
to allow for free flow of information on essential goods and services (resources)
between various levels of government, minimum recorder information has to be kept
by all.
Although all have to adopt a more pro-active approach to the disaster (risk)
management function, there are still requirements pertaining to response planning that
cannot be ignored, accordingly all plans to be submitted to the national disaster
management centre, must indicate and reflect that certain standard information is
incorporated.

4. SOME EXPLANATIONS ON KEY ASPECTS OF THE REGULATIONS.
4.1 Chapter 2: Establishment of a volunteer unit.
Although it is not a requirement to establish a volunteer unit by any municipality, it is
difficult to envisage how effective control and management of a group of volunteers
is possible without it.




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The National Policy Framework for Disaster risk Management provides additional
explanatory notes on the purpose of establishing a volunteer unit, which is not
entirely in line with the draft regulation. It is difficult to envisage that a “unit of
volunteers” was intended only for people who wish to become more actively
involved. General volunteers as reflected in section 1.3.3.2 of the same framework,
refers to “a pool of volunteers who can be drawn on by the municipality to perform a
variety of functions.” This could result in a similar scenario that presented itself under
the old legislation where a person is called upon for a specific purpose but is already
being utilised in another field. Using general volunteers as described in the
framework, has the potential to complicate effective utilisation and coordination of
volunteers, which could further create frustration amongst those services that need
volunteers as well as amongst the volunteers themselves. The draft regulations
accordingly have been compiled to help avoid this potential scenario from
developing.
As part of awareness and preparedness amongst community’s basic training should
still be made available, without having to become a volunteer. It is considered
essential however, to have a system for volunteers that is manageable, well structured
and ensures that a service that could call on a volunteer gets to know the volunteer
better (having been allocated to that specific service) and vice versa. This also helps a
service to better determine the volunteers’ capabilities and mutual trust should
strengthen.
4.3 Chapter 3: disaster management plan.
The regulations also comprise of a section (chapter 3) that addresses the minimum
requirements that will ensure a measure of standardisation on data that is to be
maintained with regard to records that must be kept on hazards for which prevention
and mitigation measures have to be determined. It also compels authorities to have
information available on proposed projects that could address the identified hazards
and those at risk of such hazards. Once a program or project is initiated, additional
information must be kept by the relevant disaster management centre to reflect the
duration, costs, which authority coordinated the project and any problems that may
have been encountered during its implementation. This should be of assistance for
other projects or programs as the “lessons learned” could be beneficial not only for
other projects by the organisation but also for other organs of state throughout South
Africa.
As development projects have to be closely linked to relevant disaster risk
management issues in terms of the Disaster Management Act and the National Policy
Framework for Disaster Risk Management, it was deemed necessary to provide some
coverage in the regulations on this. Accordingly, each development project has to
submit a hazard and risk assessment to the relevant disaster management centre. Once
a project has been started with, certain minimum information must also be forwarded
to the DMC, in who’s area this is to take place, thereby allowing that centre to
monitor the project (by requesting expertise from the municipality or other organs of
state to undertake this and to report back)
Procurement of essential goods, services and the like requires a resource data base to
be maintained. As information on this must be able to flow between centres, it would
be necessary to have some form of standardisation to be applied, to help ensure user



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friendliness and for data to be easily comparable. This is accordingly reflected in the
draft regulations. The next step would be to adopt a standardised indexing system,
that all would have to use. Unless this is done, it would be very difficult to extract
information gathered by the different centres.
Finally, the draft refers to what response plans for each identified possible scenario
must be able to reflect. Again the emphasis is on a standardised approach, by
requiring all to record and show that certain key aspects have been incorporated in
each case.
Chapter 3 is aimed at addressing certain key aspects of the disaster management plan,
which would create some measure of difficulty, in effectively analysing if a similar
approach is not followed, as this is information that may well be required at certain
intervals to be forwarded to a neighbouring centre, a provincial centre or the national
centre.

5. COMPARATIVE IMPROVEMENTS: THE OLD AS AGAINST THE NEW
    REGULATIONS.
This section will only address volunteer matters, as the section reflected as chapter 3
in the draft regulations, was not part of any previous regulations.
     The principle that the recruitment of volunteers must be needs driven is the
        departure point of the new proposed regulations. The possible need for having
        volunteers better organised within certain rural areas (due to for instance time
        delays or difficult terrain to covered for services to arrive timeously) has also
        been recognised. The reason for this is to help ensure a better structure can be
        created and maintained by the various municipalities. All volunteers should
        from the outset, be allocated to a specific service, which was not the case up
        to now. Under the previous regulations “a free hand” was given to recruit
        volunteers making it more difficult to effectively manage and utilise.
     The restrictions on some members of the public to apply for volunteer
        membership because of possible military or SAPS commitment has also been
        removed. Another aspect is the use of the word “Corps” which was changed to
        Unit in terms of the Disaster Management Act, thereby hopefully not to create
        the impression that it is another division of the SANDF.
     The international emblem for disaster management, as registered by the
        Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa, has been incorporated in
        the regulations, whilst we previously had our own design. This move will
        make it easier for disaster risk management to be recognised as such world
        wide.
     The regulations also wishes to ensure that any training given to volunteers is
        in compliance with SAQA (South African Quality Authority) and NQF
        (National Qualifications Framework). Furthermore, no training institution is to
        be used that is not registered through an appropriate SETA. (Sector Education
        and Training Authority). No minimum standards were set by the previous
        regulations on this. The only aspect that could have limited the possible
        inferior quality of training is that the Administrator had to approve the
        institution where training was to be provided.




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          Protective clothing is also in the draft regulations, with examples of what the
           minimum would be for specific categories of volunteers. Only armbands and
           identity cards were previously referred to.
          Basic equipment that may have to issued to volunteers in identified high risk
           or remote areas, is also included.
          Reimbursement for expenses incurred with regard to travel and meals to
           report for training or for duty, is specifically covered as the responsibility of
           the relevant municipality, for which must be budgeted accordingly. The level
           of reimbursement is also given.
          Where insurance cover for injury, disablement and possible death during
           training or rendering of service, was previously provided by the national
           government, this now becomes the responsibility of each municipality.
           Additional insurance must also be taken out to cover the use of specialist
           equipment that the relevant municipality may call upon for use during a
           disaster situation or training purposes. This was never included previously and
           was frequently (justifiably) requested by such volunteers.

With these regulations identified shortcomings have been addressed. It is envisaged that
more regulations will be put together as the need arises, as the Disaster Management Act
does leave the door open for this.




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