Johannesburg under siegeComment on this story
Johannesburg - It has been a tough week for Joburgers. Having to contend with heavy rains, chock-a-block traffic and load shedding, the frustration levels have reached an all-time high.
Northcliff resident and chief sub-editor at The Star, Danni Marais, said she had spent about four hours daily in traffic this week.
“On Tuesday, it took me two hours to get to work on Ontdekkers because of the traffic caused by the rain. I ended up being an hour and a half late for work,” she said.
The next day she wanted to avoid Ontdekkers, but could not use the alternative Westdene route because the dam had overflowed. She took Beyers Naude, but found three traffic lights not working.
“Yesterday, I was stuck in the office parking lot for 45 minutes. Because of the lights out, the boom gate wasn’t opening,” she said.
At 3pm, the power came back on and Marais moved into the traffic and the chaos. JMPD officers were chasing protesters from Luthuli House. The home-based caregivers also known as community health workers had marched to the ruling party’s head office in protest over alleged non-payments.
Many city dwellers have had similar experiences.
“It has been a hectic week,” said JMPD spokeswoman Inspector Edna Mamonyane. “There has been flooding, river banks have burst, small bridges have collapsed, traffic lights are not working. We tried to bring in as much manpower as we could to help with traffic control, but it has been a rollercoaster of events,” she said.
Mamonyane said it wasn’t just Joburg that was feeling the effects of the chaos.
“It’s the whole country. Joburgers felt more frustrated maybe because we have more vehicles than anywhere else and more people coming in to do business,” she said.
Power utility Eskom lifted the state of emergency and cancelled rotational load shedding, saying power supply was constrained but “stable” this morning.
They had declared a state of emergency on Thursday morning, after seven days of heavy rain left coal stockpiles at Mpumalanga power stations wet. Rolling blackouts were experienced throughout the country on Thursday.
On Friday morning, the utility’s spokesman Andrew Etzinger said on Talk Radio 702 the demand had dropped significantly and systems were stable and the state of emergency was lifted at 10pm last night.
“We will be able to confirm later this morning if another emergency will be declared and whether load shedding will be necessary,” he said.
Emergency services spokeswoman Nana Radebe said there was a contingency plan in place for disaster management.
“We already have a forum which includes all relevant city departments and NGOs,” she said.
A flood warning was issued for the eastern parts of the country over the next five days, the SA Weather Service said.
“This is due to a warm moisture band coming in from the northern region,” said forecaster Bransby Bulo.
Provinces that would be most affected included Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West.
Rain could also be expected in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, he said.
A 60 percent chance of thundershowers was expected on Friday and Saturday, while the chance of rain increased to 80 percent from Sunday to Tuesday.