KZN already vulnerable infrastructure suffers a double blow: Premier Zikalala

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KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has been visiting areas where mudslides and heavy rains destroyed informal settlements, homes, roads and businesses.

Zikalala and a number of MECs have been visiting uMdloti in Durban on Monday to assess the extent of the damage. He says the already vulnerable infrastructure has now suffered a double blow.

The KwaZulu-Natal government is still assessing the damage caused by the latest heavy rains and floods which hit the province this past weekend.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes after torrential rains fell in the province for the second time in six weeks.

Bridges and roads and other infrastructure were severely damaged. At least one fatality has been reported.

The north coast towns of Umdloti and La Mercy and the Bluff, a suburb in the south of Durban, were some of the hardest-hit areas.

“The damage is huge M4 which was already closed due to previous floods that took place in April but also the road got affected severely damaged between La Mercy and Seatides. A number of people lost property. The houses around here in uMdloti were severely damaged. The process of rebuilding is still going to continue. The only thing is that they will now be added responsibilities which will need to be undertaken.”

Repairs to critical highways and roads north of Durban will be planned along with infrastructure already damaged from last month’s floods.

Hundreds left homeless

Zikalala says hundreds of residents have been left homeless by the heavy rains, which hit the province’s coast at the weekend.

Zikalala has committed that a process of rebuilding will continue in the province and that his government will assist those affected.

The Premier says the La Mercy bridge in the north of Durban, has effectively been cut off after the collapse of parts of the road linking the area to the N2.

“We have seen the damage is huge. The first is infrastructure on roads. M4 which was already closed due to the fact the previous floods affected the roads between Lamesi and Sitha…it is impossible for people to use that road for today.”

Residents from Bluff, south of Durban, are also picking up the pieces. David Lewes’ house flooded from the gushing mudslides. Lewes and his family were forced to evacuate, saying they feared for their lives.

“Due to some construction works from above us from a neighbouring property and with large excavated soil and unprotected earth banks with the combination of the heavy rains, we have suffered mudslides that has come down the hill and gone through our property and in the process of that there is a massive sinkhole that has developed in the front of our property under the foundations. Every time it rains, we literally cannot sleep we concern that next time the property won’t be here.”

In the video below, Reporter Simphiwe Makhanya provides an update on the extent of damage in the Bluff area:

Last month’s devastating floods claimed the lives of 448 people and caused infrastructure damage estimated at billions of rands.

This past weekend heavy rains again wreaked havoc, forcing many people to evacuate their homes and leaving some trapped.

More disruptive rains

Meanwhile, the South African Weather Services has forecast disruptive rains in the north-eastern parts of KwaZulu-Natal. Forecaster Wiseman Dlamini says skies are only expected to start to clear from Wednesday.

“We are still expecting some rain, especially over northern KZN today. There is an 80 percent probability of showers over the extreme northeastern parts of KZN and then northern KZN with 50 percent expected and also we still have a warning for destructive rain over the northeastern parts of KZN for today and the weather is going to be improving from tomorrow. We don’t expect any more rain for most parts of KZN however there might still be light rain over the extreme northeastern parts in the morning tomorrow. From Wednesday onwards, no rain is expected.”

Emergency contacts

Below are emergency organisations’ contact details: