The Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs, and Development Planning, Anton Bredell said the past weekend’s coastline battering and damage to property underscored the importance of risk assessment done by his department through its Coastal Management Programme.
At the weekend, freakishly high waves caused chaos along the Cape’s coastline on Saturday.
A 93-year-old woman died and another man was left injured after waves swept them from under their feet in a parking lot in Leentjies in Wilderness.
Pictures and videos of high waves during the spring tide washing away cars across in Gordon’s Bay or causing destruction to seaside restaurants, have since gone viral.
Incidents have also been captured and reported in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
"The best response strategy to plan to avoid the damage of future similar events is by identifying the areas at risk and making provision for adequate development setbacks from our coastline and estuaries.
"In this regard, the recently adopted Provincial Coastal Management Programme 2022 to 2027 is an invaluable tool allowing for integrating coastal management in the Western Cape," Bredell said.
He said the programme focuses on enabling a resilient and sustainable coast, specifically in the development of coastal management lines.
"We will be working with our coastal municipalities and other partners to undertake detailed audits of infrastructure, services, and human settlements located in high-risk areas along the coast. This will help us craft coherent adaptation responses to identified hotspots along the coastline," Bredell said.
He said the programme enables cooperative governance and stakeholder partnerships, as it plays a key role in bringing together the efforts of various spheres and sectors.
"This includes government, the private sector, and communities, which will ensure that we have an accessible and well-managed coast for all inhabitants of and visitors to the Western Cape," Bredell added.