Heritage Day floods in Western Cape declared ‘national disaster’ costing almost R600m in damages
The assessments of the damages caused by the September floods amount to R441 million for provincial infrastructure and an additional R154 million for municipal damages.
The National Disaster Management Centre has officially classified the devastating floods that struck the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces in September as a national disaster. The centre said that this declaration opens the door for collaborative efforts between all levels of government to address the extensive damages caused by the unprecedented rains during the Heritage Day Long Weekend.
Anton Bredell, MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs, and Development Planning, said: “We are pleased with this declaration, as it now enables all three spheres of government to work together to fund and repair the damage left in the wake of the unprecedented rains experienced over the Heritage Day Long Weekend in September.”
Bredell further explained that this disaster classification grants the provincial government the ability to seek relief funds from the National Disaster Management Centre. “These funds are crucial to support the extensive recovery and repair efforts needed for public infrastructure, including buildings, roads, bridges, and water networks,” he said.
The assessments of the damages caused by the September floods amount to R441 million for provincial infrastructure and an additional R154 million for municipal damages. “We will now request the National Disaster Management Centre to approach the National Treasury with these numbers. There is no certainty on how much or when we will receive any support,” Bredell revealed.
The latest data from the provincial Department of Infrastructure indicates that, of the previously closed roads, only 22 remain inaccessible. Repairs are currently being prioritised for roads that connect communities and are vital for economic activities. In the aftermath of the floods, both the N1 and N2 highways were among the more than 150 roads that had been temporarily closed.
The Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has revealed that it received 238 applications for emergency repairs in rivers and streams. The department confirmed that it has already granted verbal approval for 196 of these applications, utilising Section 30A of the National Environmental Management Act.