Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

No major incidents as Western Cape battles severe weather conditions

The weather has caused power outages across the Western Cape Province leaving some areas without electricity.

Western Cape premier Alan Winde says there have been no major incidents reported so far as heavy rainfall hit the province.

Winde and his Cabinet were briefed at the provincial disaster management centre on Monday regarding the severe weather conditions affecting numerous areas in Western Cape.

The downpours come after the South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a level 9 warning of disruptive rain and gale force winds for parts of the province over the weekend.

Heavy rain leads to floods

Providing an update after the meeting, Winde remarked that things were “so far so good” since no major incidents had been reported.

“We have got flooding happening in some of the parts of the Overberg at the moment. The Buffeljags low level bridge in Swellendam, we have got a bit of flooding there.

“So localisied flooding, nothing major at the moment, but the rain is falling and again we still say people please make sure that you are safe. Don’t take any chances in any of our low lying areas,” he said in a video shared on social media.

Some roads in the province remain closed.

“Authorities have been hard at work clearing roadways of debris. However, a number of roads have been affected and closed as a precaution.

“Provincial traffic services are on high alert and deployed in key areas to assist with traffic control and closures,” the Western Cape government’s statement reads.

Winde confirmed that disaster management teams and emergency services personnel have been deployed to respond to incidents and mitigate the impact of the weather conditions.

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Other relevant role players remain on high alert.

“Our priority as the provincial government is to ensure that we do everything we can to keep our residents safe during this severe storm. We appeal to everyone to please exercise extreme caution and avoid unnecessary travel,” the premier continued.

He added that the impact of the extreme weather so far is varied.

See which roads have been closed below:

Western Cape Road Closures by Molefe Seeletsa on Scribd

School closures

According to the provincial government, the Cape Winelands, Overberg, and West Coast districts have been the hardest hit by strong winds and heavy downpours.

Parts of the Garden Route district is also expected to receive heavy rainfall later on Monday as well as Tuesday.

Alongside road closures, the weather has affected schools in the Western Cape, with some being closed as a precaution.

RELATED: ‘Cape of storms’: Schools in Western Cape closed, authorities on high alert [WATCH]

Western Cape Education MEC David Maynier stressed the decision to temporarily shut down schools in Overberg, Cape Winelands and Helderberg was not taken lightly.

“We want our children learning and at school, but in light of the level of the warnings, we felt it is better to be safe than sorry,” Winde added.

At least, 26 schools have been reported to be damaged by the weather “in one way or another”.

Healthcare services in affected areas, meanwhile, remain operational.

Eskom infrastructure affected

The extreme weather conditions has also caused power outages across the Western Cape province leaving areas without electricity.

According to Eskom, parts of its electricity network experienced minor structural damages leading to loss of supply to a number of areas.

Mainly affected areas include Beaufort West, Kraaifontein, Khayelitsha, Klawer and surrounding farms, Kylemore, Gordon’s Bay, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West, Stellenbosch farms and Vredendal.

READ MORE: Eskom’s break from load shedding explained

“The electricity network remains vulnerable as parts of the province continue to experience gale-force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms. This has created challenges to electricity restoration efforts creating a backlog,” Eskom said in a statement.

The power utility confirmed that its technicians were attending the faults to safely restore electricity as soon as possible despite the bad weather.

“Eskom urges customers to remain patient and can expect prolonged periods without electricity supply.”

Earlier on Monday, Eskom announced load shedding would remain suspended until further notice.

Western Cape fires

Apart from the heavy rains, parts of the Western Cape have been hit by several major fires, both wildfires and informal settlement blazes.

The fires, which were fueled by gale force winds over the weekend, have since been contained.

“The arrival of the rain on Sunday evening assisted in containing the fires. Unfortunately, many residents have been negatively affected and lost their homes.

“Officials from the Western Cape Department of Infrastructure are assessing the impact of the weather on several houses in the Cape Town and Winelands’ municipalities.”

Western Cape informal settlement blazes
At least 9 properties were destroyed or badly damaged in the Sunny Cove area in Fish Hoek by a out-of-control fire on 7 April 2024. Picture: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach