Santam’s Partnerships for Risk and Resilience Programme (P4RR) aims to strengthen the institutional and participatory development capacity of local municipalities to combat poverty on the ground. Santam achieves this by providing support to local government infrastructure, economic development and governance. Municipalities are selected based on vulnerability levels related to government requirements as well as potential impacts on our business in terms of fire, flood and storm surge perils.
Since 2012, Santam has invested R15.4 million in municipalities to better respond to the risk of fires and floods. The P4RR programme currently supports 43 municipalities. In 2018, through P4RR initiatives, investments and interventions, the following impacts were achieved:
Santam donated firefighting equipment to capacitate the Namakwa and Thabo Mofutsanyane district municipalities. The donations will be used to equip fire stations with the necessary equipment to reduce the loss of life and damage to property resulting from fires. Firefighting equipment includes fire hoses, communication radios, protective fire suits, breathing apparatus and smoke alarms.
In the Sarah Baartman and Sedibeng district municipalities, as well as in metropolitan areas in Gauteng, Santam donated funds toward firefighter training. The courses included fire officer, fire instructor, breathing apparatus, confined space entry and rescue and incident command training.
Santam in donated disaster decision support tools, associated smart devices, training and computer applications in the Sarah Baartman and Ehlanzeni district municipalities. These tools improve the management of important data relating to municipal risks and assets and aid disaster management decisions, contributing to reduced loss of life and damage to property.
After the unprecedented wildfires in Knysna and surrounding areas in 2017, Santam initiated the National Fire Resilience Roundtable. The roundtable consists of 30 stakeholders, including national and provincial disaster management centres, Working on Fire, the Red Cross, private sector companies and non-governmental organisations.
Through the roundtable, Santam commissioned R1 million worth of research by Stellenbosch University and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) into the causes of the fires, the firefighting effort and post-fire recovery. The research report, published in February 2019, highlights potential fire hotspots in South Africa and includes recommendations to improve stakeholders’ understanding of fire risk, as well as actions to mitigate the increasing risk of fires at the urban-wild interface.
A key imperative for municipalities is to conduct regular risk assessments to better understand their risk profiles and take the necessary steps to mitigate risks. Generally, local municipalities spend plenty of money obtaining risk assessments from consultants. In 2018, Santam made funds available to build risk assessment capacity and map flood risks within 10 local municipalities.