Job security for those employed in the tourism sector along the Vaal River system at Bloemhof in North West has been severely compromised following flooding in the area. All the tourism establishments on the banks of the river had to be evacuated this week as more water was released from the Vaal and Bloemhof dams, in an effort to reduce the water levels following heavy rainfall.
Water levels in the Bloemhof dam continue to rise with the dam currently standing at over 112 % capacity with an outflow of over 2 000 cubic meters per second. Many of the properties and businesses have been submerged in water and job security hangs in the balance.
Workers in the tourism sector are worried that they might lose their jobs.
“There is nowhere else for me to work apart from at Mr Sias property. Now I can’t even get there because the guest house is submerged in water,” says one of the employees.
Another worker says; “I am a waiter and now because of this flood, we all don’t have jobs. And I also stay there but at the moment we are staying in town at a guesthouse.”
The security of the submerged properties is also a concern. Neighbourhood watch member, Albert Nel says opportunistic criminals are now trying to enter evacuated properties and steal what they can.
“We are very concerned about security factor here. Last night we had guards here from 7 o’clock until this morning at 5 o’clock to see if they can guard the place and to clarify the fact people even went through the water to go and see if their property is still intact. You must understand that if a place is empty, anyone can cause huge damages.”
We are at the Bloemhof Dam which is now full to capacity, because of the recent torrential rains. pic.twitter.com/TJVqCzyvwW
— MEC Lenah Miga (@LenahMiga) January 19, 2022
The Cooperative Governance Department says preliminary assessments are under way to evaluate the extent of the damage.
“When we look at this, we are estimating already that we might need more than R200 million. We have established a team which has got a political team and an administrative team which will be sitting by tonight and early tomorrow, which will be making an assessment and developing a plan on what is it that we should do. The situation seems to be worsening than getting better and as soon as that plan is finalised, I think it will then be communicated,” says Cogta MEC Lenah Miga.
She adds that the department is pleased that the joint operation together with the Mayor acted swiftly in attending to the matter:
With water levels remaining significantly high, it remains to be seen how extensive the damage will be.