Ladysmith residents say the constant flooding and power outages were having a severe impact on the town.
Angie Sheoraj, a resident in Ladysmith, said that residents were all affected by the floods.
“I live very close to town and I’m lucky that my house is built above ground level so I don’t have the problem of water coming into my house but lots of people do. It’s also very difficult for people who work in town because every time it gets flooded the businesses close, which means no money for staff.”
Another resident Rohini Devik Ram said that where she stays it always gets flooded.
“Storm water drains are stuffed up and sewage is flowing all over. We are a low-lying area and get flooded first.
We find fish and crabs from the river in our yard and the smell is everywhere.”
Maseehullah Gaffar, chairperson of the Ladysmith Civic Association, said that they were facing an electricity and water crisis in the town.
“The electricity issue has been ongoing. Last year we had a nine-day outage and there has been no compensation to residents. We had lightning yesterday and the substation has blown again and now we’re being told there will be another three- to five-day power outage. People are going to lose foodstuff. There’s no place to store it.”
KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi on Wednesday paid a visit to affected families in Ladysmith following destructive rain on Monday which flooded the town.
The MEC said more heavy rains were expected in northern KZN.
“It is unfortunate that we have not finalised the incidents of the December floods and unfortunately another flood has happened and we were forced to evacuate residents and take them to halls.”
Sithole-Moloi added that Qedusizi Dam overflowed because of the heavy rain and flooded the town.
“A lot of infrastructure was affected around Nambiti, other districts were also affected by heavy rains on the 8 January such as Ilembe District. We have not reported any fatalities during this flooding. We urge people to come forward if they have missing family members. We have provided blankets, food, and mattresses to those that have been housed in halls.”
Sithole-Moloi said that Cogta was working to address the issue of constant flooding with the municipality.
“We just have had a meeting with all the technical teams from this municipality to see what we can do to prevent these disasters from happening in the future. If we have a disaster it should not cause this amount of damage and claim this amount of lives.
“An assessment has been done and it’s been identified that Qedusizi Dam overflowing is causing the flooding and there is a plan to divert water and deal with this issue. Service providers have already been appointed to address this issue.”
Speaking on the electricity outage, Alfred Duma Local Municipality, said it had found that the main transformer at the Jantha Switch-House had tripped.
“Upon investigation, it was found that one of the 132kV bushings was damaged, possibly by the recent lightning that the town has been experiencing which has resulted in a major oil leak and possible internal damage to the transformer.”
The municipality added that it had engaged a service provider to urgently assess the transformer.
“The municipality recommends that residents make alternative arrangements in the meantime as at this stage we cannot provide a time frame as to when the electricity will be restored.”