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First and foremost, after a Natural Disaster, when safe to do so, one should return to place of residence to assess the damage.
If there has been structural damage to your home, consult the policy on your house insurance to establish whether you qualify for repairs. Unfortunately, not all house insurance policies cover natural disasters. This are often excluded as an “Act of God” and is an important exclusion to understand before signing up for house insurance.
If you’re reading this and aren’t sure if your house is covered for natural disasters – now is the time to make sure it is.
The National Disaster Act, Section 56 provides that the National, Provincial, and local Organs of State may financially contribute to the response efforts and the post-disaster recovery. This does not however bind them to providing for the affected. They can take out of the mitigating factors whether the Natural Disaster could have been prevented and/or what preventative measures were taken.
The Provincial Party are however bound to repair the or replace the public sector infrastructure, as seen in Section 56(2)(b) limited to the mitigating factors above. In terms of the National Emergency Services Act, the National Organs of State must, within their available resources, make their personnel available for emergency services.
Unfortunately, one must take extra care after a Natural Disaster not to be caught out by scams, such as fake companies offering “too good to be true” opportunities. Furthermore, if any of your personal identification documents have been lost, or swept away, be wary of possible identity theft and report to the relevant body (Home Affairs) any potential risks. Bank Cards lost during Natural Disasters should be cancelled swiftly and reported to your respective bank to limit unnecessary risk or financial losses.
During the repair and construction of your residence, if it was damaged in a Natural Disaster, one must take extra care when asked to sign contracts that you do not understand the terms of.
Instead, be cautious and protect yourself by consulting our local attorneys in Cape Town to interpret the contract before signing. Bailley Haynes offers consultations in person and virtually, and are experienced to assist to read, assess interpret and amend contracts as needed.
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