130815. Cape Town. A man covers his face as he walks in a flooded road in Sweet Home.  Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus
130815. Cape Town. A man covers his face as he walks in a flooded road in Sweet Home. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus
130815. Cape Town. A man standing inside his flooded shack in Sweet Home. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus
130815. Cape Town. A man standing inside his flooded shack in Sweet Home. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town - People living in shacks in some parts of Cape Town were nearly knee-deep in water on Thursday morning and many roads were flooded.

The city’s traffic department on Thursday morning recorded four collisions on the outgoing lanes of the N1 between the railway bridge and the N7, where a large section of the road was flooded.

“People drive badly in this weather. They simply do not slow down for the conditions or in places where they see water on the road,” said spokesman Richard Coleman.

“And when you hit a big puddle like that, it is easy to lose control of a vehicle.”

Coleman said the main road through Kalk Bay had been flooded several times this morning as water from the mountain, combined with sea water, blocked the stormwater drains in the area.

“It floods, then they manage to clear it and it floods again,” he said.

Meanwhile, Siyamboleka James, provincial chairman for shack dwellers organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo, has slammed local government for being out of touch with conditions on the ground.

On Thursday morning James gave the Cape Argus a tour of Sweethome Farm informal settlement in Philippi. One of the main roads into the area was under knee-deep water and the walkways between the shacks were only accessible in gumboots.

Residents were carrying fridges and couches to higher ground. Many people’s appliances and furniture had been ruined, James said.

Sicelo Gagela, 57, has lived in Sweethome Farm for five years. He showed the Cape Argus to his shack, where he walked with sodden takkies in water that came up to his shins.

Resident Zandile Jejane, 25, said: “We are only seen as people during election times, the government promised us houses in exchange for votes. Now we are nothing to them.”

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, spokesman for Disaster Management, on Wednesday defined “flooding” as being conditions where water is ankle-deep in areas that are usually dry.

He said that describing conditions in Cape Flats informal settlements as “flooded” was incorrect. He said the ground was “saturated” in the worst- affected areas.

Told about the conditions in Sweethome Farm, Solomons-Johannes suggested that the water had dammed up overnight. Residents, however, said that the flooding has been ongoing for at least 24 hours.

It is understood that a team with aid was on its way to the settlement.

James said that much of the flooding, apparently the worst that Sweethome Farm residents have seen this year, could have been avoided had the city serviced storm-water drainage systems in the area. These, he says, have been blocked and unserviced for months.

Fairly heavy rain is expected for the rest of the day, with moderate rains for the rest of the week.

Cape Argus