Heavy rains, floods wreak havoc in SA

Floods in KwaZulu-Natal had claimed five lives by Wednesday as heavy rains continued to soak large parts of the country.

Scores of people were without shelter after their homes were flooded.

Others were evacuated after flood warnings were issued for various areas.

Paramedics said two children drowned on Wednesday in the flooding of the Gola River in the Folweni area of KwaZulu-Natal.

Earlier, three people died in Ladysmith floods where the heavy downpours cut off roads, uprooted trees, damaged bridges and marooned farms.


Cars were also damaged and shacks swept away.

The town of Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal was without water after its pump systems broke down due to flooding.

Provincial spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said engineers were working on the problem.

Warnings
Warnings that other parts of the country could suffer a similar fate were issued by the national department of water affairs.

“Communities residing near the four major dams should exercise extreme caution,” spokesperson Linda Page said.

These dams included the Vaal, Bloemhof, Gariep and Vanderkloof.

Affected areas included Moretele, Hammanskraal, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Mamelodi, Nkandla, Nquthu, Winburg, Senekal, and parts of Mpumalanga.

More than 800 houses across KwaZulu-Natal have been affected by the floods.

“The current persisting rain has affected at least 829 households all over the province during the past three days,” KwaZulu-Natal local government minister Nomusa Dube said.

She warned that people living on the riverbanks of the Klip River in Ladysmith would be evacuated and the houses demolished.

“Lots of houses were damaged, especially in Driefontein. In one situation the house fell on one woman and she was lucky to survive,” Dube said

It started raining in the Ladysmith area on December 31 and resulted in one person being killed in Roosboom.

The two other people died while trying to cross a stream in Ladysmith on Tuesday.

Hard hit
Tshwane in Gauteng was also hard hit by heavy rains.

Pretoria’s community safety spokesperson, William Baloyi, said several informal settlements in Mamelodi were affected and 8 469 shacks had been flooded.

“We are still assessing the worst cases [as] the bigger part of the area is inaccessible by vehicles.”

Baloyi described flooding in the affected areas as serious and said people needed to be evacuated.

“We are trying to move them into churches and available halls.”

He said a help centre had been set up in Stanza Bopape hall.

The rains have also added pressure on the country’s infrastructure, including dams.

Senior weather forecaster at the South African Weather Service Tshepo Ngobeni said 80% chances of rain were forecast in the south-west of Limpopo and Mpumalanga on Thursday. There was a 60% chance of thundershowers in Gauteng and some parts of the Free State.

“Our outlook shows that the rain will ease by Sunday in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State,” said Ngobeni.

“What that means is that there will be normal thundershowers in the afternoon and in the evening.” — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

South Africa must revisit and refresh its idea of itself

Covid has propelled citizens into feelings of a new shared identity in which the historical force of ‘whiteness’ is fading into irrelevance

Baby Awa: The miracle baby born on a boat fleeing Mozambique’s violence

More than 300 000 people in the north of the country have been displaced by militants who ransack villages and then burn them down.

Institutions of higher learning should commemorate their casualties

The bust of Matikweni Nkuna at Tshwane University of Technology is an example of how we should honour those who fought for equal access to education

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — that may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast.

Deconstructing South Africa’s construction industry performance

The construction industry has contracted sharply, partly due to Covid, and needs to rebalance its focus if it wants to survive

Editorial: SA will be bankrupted by looters

The chickens have finally come home to roost: if we do not end the looting, it will end us
Advertising

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Joe Biden’s debate guests run the only Zimbabwean restaurant in...

A Zimbabwean restaurant feeding people in need formed an unlikely addition to Joe Biden’s election campaign

The high road is in harm reduction

While the restriction of movement curtailed the health services for people who use drugs in some parts of the world, it propelled other countries into finding innovative ways to continue services, a new report reveals

Khaya Sithole: Tsakani Maluleke’s example – and challenge

Shattering the glass ceiling is not enough, the new auditor general must make ‘live’ audits the norm here in SA

State’s wage freeze sparks apoplexy

Public sector unions have cried foul over the government’s plan to freeze wages for three years and have vowed to fight back.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday