Businesses along Vaal River are counting their losses as result of flooding

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Business owners with properties along the Bloemhof Dam and Vaal River at Bloemhof, North West, are counting their losses. This is after many property owners downstream were warned to evacuate the area following the overflow of both the Bloemhof Dam and Vaal River.

Eight sluice gates were opened at the Vaal Dam since the weekend following huge water inflows due to recent persistent torrential rains.

The Vaal River has broken its banks, submerging dozens of properties and business owners are in deep water struggling to stay afloat as their financial burdens deepen even further.

“It’s very difficult for some of the people here and the damages are going to be a lot. It is our peak time October, November and December is our best time of the year so it’s very difficult. There are a lot of people on this river losing a lot of money and there’s no help at all for these people,” says business owner Shaun van Niekerk.

With accommodation bookings cancelled and properties submerged, recovery will not be easy.

“We lose money every time. We have to fix stuff and they have to cancel bookings. I have to give people that money back so the exact figure I can’t tell you now. But this year especially was very bad following COVID that we had, which was also with the lockdown and everything we had to cancel. There are a lot of people on this river. Owners of resorts that will probably not survive this last this one,” says a worried business owner Maritjie Meyer.

“All the little towns and dorpies next to the river are affected and our insurances are cancelled because o the flooding- this is the third time this year. It was January, then it was April and now this time. So all the insurance cancelled. And there are about 200 workers in this area that must go home, there’s no work for them,” says another business owner, Sias Meyer.

Workers here are likely to suffer the brunt of losses.

“We want to go back to work but these conditions aren’t good. This has happened too many times. And this worries us because we must support our children.”

“I feel so very bad because the situation is not nice for us because we got children at home. I am a single parent I’m working for my children, I got no husband, my husband died a long time ago. When the situation is like this then I’m stuck.”

The Bloemhof Dam is currently at over 111% capacity. If the current torrential rains persist this may exacerbate the risk to life and property and prolong the absence of business activity.

Watch full story here: