Acting KwaZulu-Natal Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Kwazi Mshengu has urged motorists to be extra vigilant on the roads as heavy rains continue to batter parts of the province.
This as rains are causing extensive damage to bridges and other transport infrastructure.
Mshengu said that the department is currently quantifying the extent of the damage caused by tropical storm Eloise, which mainly affected Zululand, Umkhanyakude and King Cetshwayo District Municipalities.
The acting MEC said many roads and bridges in the province have been damaged by the heavy rains resulting in some roads being completely closed with limited access to communities, social, health and economic facilities.
“We have received reports that roads and bridges in district municipalities such as Zululand, Umkhanyakude and King Cetshwayo have been severely damaged. A team has been dispatched to assess the damage, and they will put together a report on how the department can intervene.
“We also have teams on the ground who are on 24-hour standby and our Road Traffic Inspectorate are diverting traffic in areas where transport infrastructure has been washed away,” Mshengu said.
Mshengu has called on motorists to drive with caution as roads are extremely slippery due to heavy rains that can lead to localised flooding and reduced visibility.
So far, Mshengu said no major accidents resulting in multiple fatalities have been reported due to continuing heavy downpour. However, the department is concerned about the high number of crashes that occurred, especially on the N3 and N2.
“We appeal to motorists and pedestrians to continue to exercise extreme caution and call upon all road users to remember to adhere to the rules of the road,” Mshengu said.
Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service said that it is anticipated that the coming weekend will see a persistence of showers and thundershowers over the central part of South Africa.
Maximum temperatures should start recovering, heralding a spell of warmer, “albeit humid weather in the days ahead.”
“By contrast, the western interior should become sunny, dry and hot during the coming weekend,” said the weather service in a statement.