‘Blocked drains worsened damage’

2016-03-21 12:15

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Pietermaritzburg - Residents and ward councillors have lashed out at Msunduzi Municipality, saying the damage caused by the freak storm last week could have been less severe if drains were cleaned out regularly.

Wednesday’s freak storm that resulted in flooding of roads and houses wreaked havoc through the city especially in the northern suburbs and the city centre.

Although the city cannot be held liable for natural disasters, some residents and councillors said the severity of the damage could have been avoided.

“I have tried to get the municipality for months to clean the drains. With debris and garbage clogging the drains, it makes for a worse situation when heavy rain comes down,” said a Northdale ward councillor Rooksana Ahmed.

Ahmed said she specifically mentioned Raisethorpe and Mysore Road as needing drainage as “even the slightest rain can flood the streets there”.

“Once again the municipality has failed ratepayers due to ailing infrastructure,” added Ahmed.

Social media was abuzz last week with pictures of roads such as Allandale Drive and Greyling Street flooded after the heavy downpour. Pictures of vehicles struggling to get through the flooded roads were shared all over social media.

A business owner from Allandale Drive, who did not want to be named, said the drains on the side of the road are constantly blocked with rubbish and debris from previous storms.

“It is always a concern that when the drains are blocked the water will overflow into our shops. The drains just need to be maintained and all the worries can end,” said the business owner.

Msunduzi Municipality acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the city experienced “flash floods” that were not caused by doings, or lack thereof, of the municipality.

“South African Weather Services had issued prior warnings about the flash floods. Storm water drain ­cleaning is done as part of the ­maintenance plan and programme that the drainage section has,” said Madonda.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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