WC infrastructure damage from floods estimated at half billion rand

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The Western Cape Department of Infrastructure says damages to roads and other structures due to the severe flooding two weeks ago, is estimated at around half a billion rand. While assessments continue and a technical report is being completed, parts of the province remains difficult to access. The recent flooding was the worst in decades and have exceeded all records for dams, rivers and other bodies of water. Eleven people lost their lives and tens of thousands were severely impacted.

Small streams were turned into raging rivers across large parts of the Western Cape. The town of McGregor was temporarily cut off from the outside world and numerous farms became isolated in areas such as Franschhoek, Caledon and Hermanus. Infrastructure teams are spread out across the province to repair and reopen routes. But there is an appeal for patience.

“Some of the roads still need to be assessed, on the 25th of September. 151 roads were closed in the Western Cape, as we sit today, the technical report, the briefing I got this morning are now down to 31. So, what the residents will appreciate is that the bulk of the work is done by our roads’ teams. It’s not the private sector. It’s not us tendering out the bulk of the work, it’s our district teams which we have invested in and we are saving the taxpayers a lot of money and so we ask them for patience,” says Tertuis Simmers, MEC for Infrastructure.

Humanitarian aid also continues. Aid organisation Gift of the Givers is working with various municipalities across the province.

“The areas needing assistance currently is the Cape Agulhas where over 800 families require assistance. Our teams are rolling out food parcels, clean drinking water, personal hygiene items, baby care items, blankets to these communities. In the coming days, we will be visiting the areas around the R60 route, Ashton and Montague and then thereafter beyond Botrivier as you know Botrivier was washed away leaving the towns of Botrivier and Riviersonderend completely cut off,” says Ali Sablay of Gift of the Givers.

Damages within the agriculture sector alone is estimated at around R1.4 billion as a result of washed away crops, soil and infrastructure.