Search-and-rescue operations will continue in parts of the country affected by recent heavy rains, Cabinet said last week.
In a post-Cabinet briefing, Acting Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Angie Motshekga expressed condolences to the families of over 30 people killed in the flooding that hit parts of the North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal.
“Cabinet reassures South Africans that the National Disaster Management Centre – through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence (Natjoint) structure – will continue with search and rescue efforts and humanitarian relief,” Motshekga said.
“Cabinet commends the intervention by security forces to aid rescue efforts.”
Those living in flood-prone areas were urged to take precautions during extreme weather conditions.
“Parents and guardians must take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of children,” Motshekga said. “Additionally, motorists and pedestrians need to remain vigilant when using roads in wet conditions.”
R100 million to repair NW flood damage
Flood damage in North West amounted to at least R100m, according to Premier Thandi Modise.
“Though the final assessment has not been concluded, repairs to the damaged infrastructure and enhancement of the design and structural quality of the damaged infrastructure such as houses, bridges, roads and culverts has already commenced,” Modise said in a statement.
Eleven people died due to the rainy weather conditions in the province since February.
“Six of the fatalities were reported in Madibeng and Moses Kotane Local Municipalities in the Bojanala Platinum District while five were reported in Kagisano-Molopo Local Municipality in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District,” said Modise.
The Kagisano-Molopo municipality had been the worst affected, as 232 houses were affected and 280km of road and five culverts were damaged.
“The determination as to whether it will be necessary for the province to be declared a disaster area would depend on the final consolidated assessment report to be finalised in the coming week,” she said.
The Madibeng Local Municipality had already submitted a request to declare it a disaster area.
Modise said that though relief efforts such as relief of social distress grants, tents, blankets, food parcels and mattresses were rolled out, there was a need for public awareness campaigns on rainwater harvesting initiatives to be intensified in schools and vulnerable communities.
“The lack of spatial planning, municipal by-laws that result in uncoordinated and unplanned human settlements on low lying areas and river banks and poor drainage system in urban areas had increased the vulnerability and magnitude of flooding,” she said.
These photos show why the Madibeng Local Municipality has submitted a request to declare it a disaster area. Pictures: Gallo Images.