Bongani Hans, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg – About 300 families were forced to vacate their houses when five towns in KwaZulu-Natal were hit by floods as a result of heavy rains between Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon.
The affected towns are Newcastle, Ladysmith, Nquthu and Nkandla in the northern KZN and Harding on the South Coast.
Ladysmith was the hardest hit when floodwaters surged over the banks of the Klip River, flooding about 50 houses.
Emnambithi/Ladysmith Municipality Deputy Mayor Fana Madlala described the situation as “really bad”.
“We are trying to bring the situation back to normality,” he said.
He said a taxi rank in the town’s CBD had to be closed and minibus taxis relocated to other areas.
He said 30 other houses in nearby Driefontein and its surrounds were also flooded.
Witness reporter Chris Ndaliso reported from Ladysmith that traffic was chaotic in Murchison and Alexandra streets.
He said a large part of Lyell Street had to be closed as traffic officers diverted vehicles.
“While most shops have lots of water inside, Johannesburg and Bergville taxi ranks had to be shut down,” said Ndaliso.
Newcastle Municipality Mayor Afzul Rehman said the swelling of Ngagane River left 50 houses flooded. Five of the houses were damaged.
Rehman said the river started to rise at about 01:00 on Monday and subsided at about 05:00 on Tuesday.
“We had warned residents earlier about the danger, and they managed to escape in time,” Rehman added.
Pictures taken in Newcastle and sent to The Witness also showed lots of water on the streets.
The disaster manager in the provincial Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Jonty Ndlazi, said teams were sent to assess the situation in the flooded areas.
Ndlazi said about 200 houses were flooded in the KwaMadlala area of Harding.
Lennox Mabaso, a department spokesperson, said the province was experiencing heavy flooding.
“The city of Ladysmith is experiencing huge traffic volumes in one of its operational main roads,” he said.
Mabaso said that by Tuesday afternoon there were no injuries reported as a result of the flooding.
He said the MEC, Nomusa Dube, went to Ladysmith to assess the situation and that the disaster management team was in control of the situation.
KZN Transport Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said most roads in the province have been affected by the floods.
“In northern KwaZulu-Natal in the areas of Nquthu and Nkandla a bridge was severely damaged and vehicles cannot use it,” said Ncalane. He said the team has been dispatched to compile a report on how the department can help.
SA Weather Service forecaster Lucky Makhwedzha said there is a 60% chance of showers in the province.
“On Wednesday and Thursday we expect cloudy conditions with 60% showers,” he said.
More showers are expected on Friday, but the likelihood will fall to 30% and there are no forecasts of flooding, Makhwedzha said.
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