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Thousands affected by heavy rains in Western Cape, while some roads snowed over

By News24 2 July 2018
Caption
A north westerly wind fans waves breaking on Muizenberg beach as a storm front approaches Cape Town, South Africa 28 April 2016. Photo: EPA/NIC BOTHMA

About 4 000 homes were affected by flooding in informal settlements around Cape Town after heavy rain, while at least two mountain passes in Witzenberg near Ceres have snowed over and are unsafe for travel.

“Due to last night’s heavy downpours, localised flooding has occurred in informal settlements across the metropole,” City of Cape Town disaster and risk management spokesperson Charlotte Powell said on Monday morning.

Around 4 000 homes in Khayelitsha, Philippi and Macassar were affected, but no evacuations or emergency shelters were activated.

Power lines were also down in Lansdowne, Gugulethu and Wynberg, while trees were uprooted in Constantia, Vredekloof, Durbanville, Tamboerskloof and Pinelands.Assessments and mop-up operations are underway, Powell said.

Mountain passes ‘unsafe’

Meanwhile, Witzenberg municipality acting manager Monwabisi Mpeluza warned that motorists were getting into difficulty on the mountain passes and had to be towed, especially on the inclines.

“The roads are basically unsafe,” said Mpeluza.

“We seem to be getting much more snow than we anticipated,” he said.

Besides the snow on the passes, the rain was also icing roads over quickly, making them slippery and unsafe.

Municipal spokesperson Anette Radjoo said families who wanted to bring their children to see the snow should hold off because it is not safe to travel on the mountain passes there at the moment.

Assessments are underway but in the Witzenberg area, which includes Ceres, there did not seem to be any residents or visitors in danger, except that it was “very cold”.

ANC councillor Khaya Yozi said some residents of informal settlements in KTC and Borcherds Quarry to the east of the city spent the night with family or friends when their homes were flooded.

He said they opted to go and bed down with relatives and friends instead of staying in community halls that are cold and offer no privacy.

Bainskloof Pass still closed

Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said the Bainskloof Pass was also still closed due to mudslides, but the Huguenot tunnel on the N1 was open again.

“Otherwise everything is back to normal,” said Africa, after a weekend of heavy rain that flooded some roads and businesses.

The management of the N1 City shopping complex was in a meeting on Monday, but reports on Twitter indicated that some shops there were also flooded.

In the meantime, the Western Cape Department of Social Development’s social workers would be heading out in the rain to offer emergency help.

“This is to stave off the brutal effect of immediate loss,” said spokesperson Sihle Ngobese.

He said the department would look for people who had lost their food, identity documents and even their children’s school clothes because of flooding.

The department works with local and provincial disaster response authorities who can help and will also assess people who have been affected by flooding to see if they qualify for South African Social Security Agency disaster relief grants to help them get back on their feet.

City of Cape Town maintenance workers have had to contend with obstructions at stormwater entry points caused by loose debris or dumping that has led to some roads being flooded. DM

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