New bridge, then more flooding

2012-10-19 00:00

COULD climate change have anything to do with Nhlanhla Mbambo’s fallen fence and the new Malangeni Bridge that he lives beside?

No sooner had Transport MEC Willies Mchu­nu cut the ribbon to open the new R9 million bridge this week after the last one had been washed away in the 2008 floods, when heavy rain on Wednesday night destroyed Mbambo’s fence.

“My dad and I will repair it,” he said, lamenting how their riverside home is prone to being flooded.

Weather-related natural disasters have increased radically over the past 30 years, according to reports.

Five-fold in North America, four-fold in Asia and by 2,5 here in Africa.

Mbambo remembers when the bridge washed away four years ago.

“It was 8.30 pm. The house had been flooded and we had moved out.”

In the years since, vehicles have passed across a temporary low-level bridge on a road that is now badly eroded.

Floods since 2008 have caused R1,1 billion damage to road infrastructure in the Ugu District. While water brings life, it’s also historically brought trouble in Mbambo’s area.

According to legend, that is.

There’s a story that long ago people in the Malangeni area were terrorised by a crocodile named iSezela, meaning “the one who smells out” because of its reputation for being like a wild dog sniffing a trail.

“In 1828, when Shaka led his Zulu army down the coast, he heard of this reptile and resolved to have its skin,” read the SA Travel Directory web site. “A hunt was organised. Shaka’s men went into the river with their spears and killed the crocodile.”

The nearby sugar mill is named after the creature.

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