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WATCH: Transport portfolio committee wants swift intervention on infrastructure challenges caused by weather in KZN

Published Apr 13, 2022

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Durban - The parliamentary portfolio committee on transport chairperson Mosebenzi Zwane has called for the immediate intervention by all spheres of government on dealing with the infrastructure challenges caused by heavy rains in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zwane’s call comes amid viral videos and photographs on social media of major transportation routes that were damaged by persistent rainfall and flooding.

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In a statement on Tuesday, Zwane said it was important for the provincial and national governments to immediately intervene and ensure that poor people did not suffer due to damaged roads and houses, as these weather conditions were set to persist for a long time.

He said the committee had noted with sadness the damage to people’s homes, road networks and other facilities of need like graveyards and internet connectivity infrastructure.

A bridge is washed away by flooding water in Ntuzuma. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Zwane said these kinds of weather-induced challenges required long-term planning and wise strategies of adaptation.

“The committee is concerned with the damage, particularly on the road network in one of South Africa’s economic hubs. Although the country should come to expect the infrastructural damage due to conditions that are symptomatic of climate change, infrastructure damages should be attended to with speed,” Zwane said.

Umhlali N2 north bridge has moved approximately 50cm, dropped about 10cm on the north end and moved 20cm on the south end. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue.

The chairperson called on municipalities to get to work speedily to determine areas where urgent help was required and to assess what that help should be.

“The committee appreciates the work that government and its entities are doing in the transport sector, and the kind of investments involved, but government ought to act with speed and avoid a situation where KZN roads and transport infrastructure damages become an impossible backlog to deal with,” Zwane said.

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He added that the committee would have a first-hand experience of road infrastructure challenges when it visited the province after the Easter weekend. KZN has been gripped by a spell of bad weather accompanied by floods that make driving on some roads impossible or very dangerous.

Places most affected include Prospecton Isipingo, Ntuzuma, North Coast Road and many others. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

On Tuesday Ravi Ronny, eastern region design and construction manager at national roads agency Sanral said: “Bayhead Road, which provides access to the port, is completely closed due to heavy rains and flooding. Engineers are on the ground assessing the situation and providing guidance on mobility around the network.”

Sanral said some sections of the N3 highway were partially closed due to the upgrades and the floods had exacerbated the situation on the network.

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“We appeal to all motorists and especially freight transport not to leave their destinations to try and come to Durban Port. There is no access to the port. We are working with emergency services to get the road network reopened,” Ronny said.

Umhlali N2 north bridge has moved approximately 50cm, dropped about 10cm on the north end and moved 20cm on the south end. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue.

On Tuesday morning, IPSS Medical Rescue said: “Umhlali N2 north bridge has moved approximately 50cm and had dropped about 10cm on the north end and moved 20cm on the south end.”

On Monday night, IPSS had said the N2 Umhlali River bridge, north and southbound was closed.

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