Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
11 Nov 2016
6:06 am

Joburg’s stormwater drain system can’t cope – mayor

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Mashaba said the city was working around the clock to repair the destruction and provide relief to displaced and injured victims.

The N3 highway in Linksfield was affected by a flash flood in 2016. Picture: Emer-G-Med.

The City of Joburg’s civil infrastructure was insufficient to deal with the recent flash floods, according to mayor Herman Mashaba.

After widespread damage and the loss of at least six lives in the province during the floods, Mashaba said the city was working around the clock to repair the destruction and provide relief to displaced and injured victims. But he said that capacity in the city was a problem.

“Our city has experienced a flash flood beyond the capacity of our stormwater systems. Unfortunately, any severe storm or flash flooding that occurs will result in isolated flooding as the road infrastructure is not designed for these severities.”

Tax lobby group Outa’s Wayne Duvenage raised further concerns: “The engineering expertise must be questioned because while the flash floods have been really extraordinary, there are roads which are constantly waterlogged due to poor drainage, even during normal heavy rain,” he said.

Referring to the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) and municipalities, which he said had not built roads that could handle even the least severe of floods, he asked: “The question is what are you doing to fix and build these roads so that they can manage heavy rain and not have this situation where productivity in the city grinds to a halt?”

Gauteng acting premier Paul Mashatile’s spokesperson, Mogomotsi Mogodiri, said: “Municipalities are encouraged to create a budget to make funds available for installing drainage systems. In the short term, the issue of redirecting water is being attended to through sandbags and other methods, such as furrows.”

Sanral said the main causes of the flood damage were infrastructure issues.

Due to the large volume of rain that fell in a very short space of time and the accumulated runoff, much more water found its way on to the roads due to the stormwater systems being overburdened.