CoGTA cautions public over recent floods

Monday, December 12, 2022

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has urged the public to exercise caution following flooding in in the central and eastern parts of the country due to continuing rains.

In a statement, the department said Gauteng had experienced heavy downpours accompanied by thunderstorms, hail, strong winds and lightning.

“The disruptive rainfall from the evening of the 8th December 2022 is continuing throughout Gauteng and other provinces,” said Ministry spokesperson Lungi Mtshali.

He said the rains were affecting various communities negatively, leading to the destruction of infrastructure and private property.

He said Gauteng, specifically in and around Soweto, was witnessing disruptive flooding.

“As reported by the South African Weather Service (SAWS), the ground in many other areas that have been receiving rains is already saturated, whilst rivers and streams are running full and, in some areas, overflowing into roads and homes. 

“As per SAWS report, more rains are still expected. The Minister urges the public to be extra vigilant and exercise caution, especially in areas prone to flooding. The expected rainfall will make matters worse as the summer rains continues,” he said.

Mtshali said the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) was in contact with provincial and local disaster management centres on the ground to monitor the situation and give support.

“As a result of these adverse weather patterns, the Disaster Management Teams from across all spheres of government will continue to be on standby to provide assistance where required.

“The public is urged to follow the regular updates and warning messages from the SAWS as it monitors the weather and climate conditions,” he said. “Everyone is urged to also be vigilant, cautious, and to heed the calls from relevant authorities.”

Safety tips:

- People living in low-lying areas must take special care during storms, as sudden floods might affect them. They should monitor the rising water levels and evacuate the areas to a safer place or higher spot when the water level rises.

- Do not cross through flooded roads or bridges – use other routes.

- Avoid crossing low-lying bridges, streams and rivers.

- Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing water. Even if the water is 15 cm deep, it can sweep you off your feet;

- Motorist must be very careful and avoid driving through flooded areas.

- Drive to and park at safer areas.

- The public must monitor weather alerts on radio and television.

- The public should contact their municipal disaster management centres or the nearest police station or call the national emergency numbers (112, 10177 or 107) when faced with threats.

- Do not try to drive over a low-water bridge if water is flowing strongly across it and the ground is not visible.

- Teach your children about the dangers of floods.

- Keep your important documents in a water-resistant container.

- Keep your cell phone in close proximity to you and have emergency numbers at hand.

- Be especially vigilant at night. It is harder to recognise potentially deadly road hazards.

- Do not camp or park your car along rivers or washes, especially during heavy rains or thunderstorms.

- If you are on foot, be aware that low moving water can also be dangerous during flood conditions. If you come upon moving water, do not walk into it.

- Where possible, communities are encouraged to try to avoid contact with any flood waters. The water may be contaminated with raw sewage, oil or other dangerous substances, and may also be charged with electricity from fallen powerlines. –