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Ethekwini proposes ‘Rolls-Royce’ of pipes for Umdloti’s flooding woes

Sand, flowing from the top of the hill in Umdloti, went through houses and complexes during the heavy rains and flooding, in April, 2022. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA)

Sand, flowing from the top of the hill in Umdloti, went through houses and complexes during the heavy rains and flooding, in April, 2022. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 25, 2022

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Durban - Ethekwini Municipal officials visited Umdloti, north of Durban, on Wednesday to officiate a rebuild process, following the damage that residents and business owners sustained during the recent flooding.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, deputy mayor Philani Mavundla, and the City’s head of the Storm Water Unit, Greg Williams, told affected residents a 900m pipe would be installed to channel the water out into the ocean.

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The Umdloti area lies at the bottom of an embankment, overlooked by an upcoming property development.

During the heavy rains at the weekend, residents on Bellamont Road, which is halfway between the top and bottom of the hill, had to evacuate their homes because of the volume of water and sand flowing towards them.

The Surfside complex on Bellamont Road, in Umdloti, was destroyed towards the west wing, during the flooding at the weekend. Picture: Jehran Naidoo African News Agency (ANA)

Williams said the new proposal will be able to capture water flowing down the hill and safely dispose of it.

Kaunda said he was aware residents in the area were still without water and electricity, but teams were working to resolve the matter expeditiously.

“Part of the challenges we have been attending to is to ensure that we shorten supply chain management (SCM) processes whenever we are faced with these disasters, so that it doesn't take long for us to appoint contractors to conduct repairs,” Kaunda said outside Surfside, on Bellamont Road.

“We must also acknowledge that the community will also be affected during the work. You will have to be diverted from the main routes and sometimes we will close off water to your yards.

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“We are here to resolve these challenges together, finger pointing is not going to be assisting us.”

Devru Civils and Leomat Construction, both KwaZulu-Natal-based companies, were appointed as the contractors for the rebuild.

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Williams said: “We have proposed to put a large diameter pipe from here, all the way to the beach. There’s one here and another to be placed at 56 Bellamont Road.

“Both of those pipes will have inlets on both sides of Bellamont Road and a headwall above that to capture further water that comes through the forest, and take it safely to the beach.

“Those are high density polyethylene pipes. They are welded together and form one continuous pipe. In my opinion, it's the Rolls-Royce of pipes,” Williams added.

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An aggrieved resident from Bellamont Road asked the mayor if residents not choosing to vacate the Surfside complex had to compensate for the others who had left, in terms of rates and taxes.

Around 60 residents remain in the Surfside complex, which once housed 98 families.

Kaunda said he could not provide an answer on the spot, and told the man he would have to deliberate on the matter further.

The heavy rains destroyed homes across the city this past weekend, as the second wave of flooding to hit the province in two months wiped away more critical infrastructure

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