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North West issues flood warning

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Independent Newspapers

The Sand River in Mpumalanga became a raging torrent after the recent heavy rains in South Africa. Mozambique and Swaziland are also suffering as the wet weather continues. File picture: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg -

The North West government on Tuesday issued a flood warning across its municipalities as the rain continued.

The North West provincial disaster management centre had issued an early flood warning to all municipalities after several bridges in the province were reportedly flooded due to heavy rains, Premier Thandi Modise's spokesman, Lesiba Kgwele, said in a statement.

“Motorists and pedestrians crossing flooding rivers are advised to exercise extreme caution and not to underestimate flood currents.

“The provincial government wishes to appeal to households that might experience flooding to exercise patience as some municipalities are overstretched by the demand for relief material,” he said.

Kgwele said 30 RDP houses at Freedom Park in Rustenburg were reportedly flooded on Monday.

The rain and floods had also affected school attendance at Bosworth Primary School outside Klerksdorp as pupils were forced to use the long route to school after the Witpoort bridge flooded.

“The Maubane/Bosplas bridge in Mmotla village in Moretele local municipality was also flooded. Heavy rains were also experienced in Tlokwe and Maquassi Hills local municipalities although no incidents were reported,” he said.

Kgwele said the department of water and environmental affairs had opened seven values at the Vaal dam and two values at the Bloemhof dam to allow the flow of water.

The Bloemhof dam was said to be at 94 percent, he added.

Several drownings and rescue operations were reported on Tuesday as persistent rain and flooding caused havoc in several parts of the country.

In Mpumalanga alone, 11 people drowned during the past week because of heavy rains. Another 12 were rescued.

Vehicles were also swept away in floods.

The South African Weather Service said flooding in the eastern parts of the country remained a risk due to high saturation caused by the rainfall.

These included Gauteng, the Free State and North West, forecaster Elizabeth Webster said.

Rainfall patterns would shift to the north-eastern parts of the country, including Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo on Wednesday.

“This would also bring an 80 percent chance of rain to the region,” said Webster.

The rainy weather conditions were expected to clear up in the north-eastern regions by Friday. - Sapa


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