Durban - eThekwini Municipality mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, says it is too early to estimate the financial losses incurred by the city, province and businesses over the last four days as a result of torrential downpours since Friday.
"We continue to assess the damage and further details will be given as the day progresses. At the moment, we can’t be certain on monetary terms of the extent of the damage," said Kaunda.
He was speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday. He said certain water treatment plants and water mains were damaged, including those that belong to Umgeni Water.
"Most of the city’s power stations have been flooded and our teams were unable to access them last night, but our teams started working on these facilities in the early hours of this morning. We would like to urge our communities to bear with us while we are working to restore electricity supply. We want to assure the residents that we are attending to this. Our teams are on the ground to try and return the situation to normalcy," he said.
iLembe Chamber of Commerce CEO, Cobus Oelofse, said it is difficult to determine at the moment how many premises and business premises have been damaged.
"The majority of businesses in the Ilembe district in at least three economic nodes; the North Coast, Stanger and kwaDukuza have been impacted. People struggled to get to work and a majority of businesses were closed, impacting on retailers," he said.
Oelofse said the inclement weather could not have come at a worse time, as most businesses are preparing for the upcoming Easter weekend.
He added that this is concerning from a local economic point of view.
"With regards to actual damage to premises, it is still to be determined. If you look at the damage to residential properties, I can't imagine that the commercial and industrial properties would have been spared, but obviously not to the extent that it impacted on residential," Oelofse said.
Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC CEO, Palesa Phili, said while it is still early to determine the exact economic losses, based on their observation, properties as well as various critical infrastructure have been severely damaged.
"Any amount of rainfall in eThekwini could lead to further flooding, as the ground is completely saturated. The magnitude and the frequency of these storms are proving to be a massive risk to the growth and development of the local economy especially in an already constrained economic environment with a major challenge being the inability to transport and deliver goods and services to various destinations due to flooding and traffic congestion," she said.