Ladysmith floods: DA calls for independent investigation

Several areas in Ladysmith remain severely flooded after recent rainfalls.

The province’s disaster management teams evacuated over 100 residents from flooded areas on Monday.

The DA says the local government hired an independent consultant to investigate floods, but it wants the consultant to delve into the reasons behind the severe flooding.

“The DA will write to the Municipal Manager to ensure that the brief/mandate given to the consultant includes the establishment of the causes for the flooding and whether any councillors and/or officials should be held accountable,” said the party’s Alf Lees.

Lees says officials need to be held accountable if their actions or negligence contributed to the extent of the damage.

KZN MEC Sipho Hlomuka visits disaster-hit Ladysmith. Picture – Supplied

“Wrongly approved new building plans or failed to comply with obligations to keep the riverbed clear of vegetation and excess silt or any other failure that contributed to the flooding,” said Lees.

The DA alleges that building regulations were openly disregarded in the construction of a new Super Spa.

“These questionable building approvals include the relatively recent approval for the construction of the Super Spa that was apparently built on a stormwater servitude – despite warnings from the DA.”

Super Spa has been seriously flooded in recent storms.

Ladysmith businesses reeling after flood damage. Picture – supplied.

Meanwhile, KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka visited the disaster-struck area to assess the extent of the damage and to monitor the rollout of relief.

Hlomuka spoke to some of the affected business owners and members of the community.

He assured them the government is investigating the cause of flooding and finding a permanent solution that will protect the town from future flooding.

According to disaster management teams, heavy rains in the catchment areas have led to the uThukela River bursting its banks over the weekend and affecting communities and towns located along its path.

Hlomuka warned communities along the banks of the river to exercise extreme caution.

“Currently the bridge linking Kranskop and Nkandla is submerged in water, we appeal to the community in this area to not go near the bridge and for parents to guard their children,” he said.

Similarly in the Mandeni local municipality, 20 families had to be evacuated yesterday from their homes that were located near the river in Ward 7 (Shekembuya area).

Businesses underwater. Ladysmith devastating floods. Picture – supplied.

At least 15 people were evacuated in the Msinga local municipality, Ward 5 (Bathenjini area) on Monday. Residents have been moved to uMkhuphulangwenya (Sampofu area in Ward 4) to the Municipal Hall for safety.

The province has been experiencing inclement weather conditions since early December which have left a trail of death and destruction in their wake. So far 25 people have lost their lives, with two people still missing.

Compiled by Narissa Subramoney

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