Weather causes chaos on SA roads

2012-07-14 16:30
Several serious incidents have been reported as the rain and snowfall gripped some parts of the country. (File, AP)

Several serious incidents have been reported as the rain and snowfall gripped some parts of the country. (File, AP)

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Johannesburg - Several serious incidents have been reported as the rain and snowfall gripped some parts of the country, the Road Traffic Management Centre (RTMC) said on Saturday.

RTMC spokesperson Ashraf Ismail said three people were killed and two others injured in an accident on the N6 between Jamestown and Queenstown.

In the Western Cape, a search party for an ambulance that had gone missing was launched.

"The ambulance left Beaufort West earlier today and was on route to Loxton. It's unclear what became of it," said Ismail.

Rescue workers were also trying to get to a bus that was stuck in the snow in the Three Sisters area. The bus was carrying 60 passengers.

The RTMC has called on motorists to exercise caution on the roads and delay their trips until the troubling weather subsides.

"The N1 between Beaufort West and the N12 is not working in the Western Cape," said Ismail.

The N12 between the Beaufort West and Victoria West was closed.

The Outeniqua pass was also closed due to no visibility in the area.

The M12 and M9 between Waboomskraal was flooded and therefore closed off.

In Knysna, the M2, Wilderness was also closed.

"Disruptions have also been reported on routes leading to the George airport due to a flooded bridge." said Ismail.

The rain and snowfall is expected to continue throughout the day.

Motorists who have to use the roads were urged to drive with their headlights on and to maintain a safe following distance.

Heavy rain and snow had been forecast in Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, while Gauteng was experiencing extreme cold.

In the Eastern Cape the Barkley Pass on the R58 between Barkley East and Elliot has been closed, as well as the Kraairivier Pass, also on the R58 between Barkley East and Lady Grey.

Snowfall was increasing in Graaf Reinet, Tsitsikamma and the surrounding passes, the provincial disaster management centre said.

Four people were killed in the province on Friday due to the weather.

Two vehicles collided at the Panhoek Pass, the provincial disaster management centre said.

"[We assume] the accident was caused by poor visibility and the roads being slippery," disaster management spokesperson, Lungile Qabisisa said in a statement on Saturday.

"In another incident, four people were left trapped in snowfall between Molteno and Sterkstroom. Police were called in to assist," said Qabisisa.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality evacuated 20 people from the Missionvale area on Friday.

Officials have urged locals in low-lying areas to prepare themselves for possible evacuations.

Meanwhile, graders have been dispersed to the Joe Gqabi and Chris Hani districts to try and clear the roads.

- SAPA
Read more on:    rtmc  |  george  |  port elizabeth  |  cape town  |  east london  |  transport  |  weather
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