November 9 floods exacerbated by blocked culvert – parliamentary inquiry finds

Some of the damage done during the November 9 floods at an Eastleigh business, located on the banks of the Eastleigh Spruit.

A parliamentary inquiry into the November 9 floods has found that it was exacerbated by a blockage at one of the culverts.

Six people died as a result of the floods last year.

A culvert is a structure that allows water to flow under a road. It led to water overtopping the embankments and spilling onto the N3, costing innocent lives.

“This incident is an indictment on the South African Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) which is responsible for the maintenance of the culverts and our highways,” Member of Parliament Mike Waters said.

“Despite the already poor condition of the culverts, some of them have become living quarters for vagrants and were partitioned off and divided into rooms.

“It is totally unacceptable that the situation was allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that it led to lives being lost,” he said.

Waters has called for an investigation into the matter to ensure that the person(s) responsible for the maintenance of the culverts face criminal charges.

Also read: MULTIMEDIA: Videos and Gallery from November 9 #floods

“I have written to the South African Human Rights Commission requesting that they also do an investigation into the matter,” he said.

According to the Parliamentary reply, Sanral commissioned an investigation into the deadly floods which looked into the meteorological, hydrological and hydraulic assessment of the R24/N12, Linksfield and Gillooly’s interchanges to understand the underlying causes of the flooding.

A final report was tabled on September 12 by the investigating specialist.

“Emanating from the report is that the R24/N12 culvert system is inadequate to handle the recommended design of a one-in-80-year flood.

“The questions that I will be asking in Parliament is how was this allowed to happen and why the culverts were not upgraded at the time of the highway network upgrades, ahead of the 2010 World Cup?” Waters said.

Sanral responds:

In response to an enquiry by the NEWS, general manager for communications at Sanral, Vusi Mona, said a team of engineers inspected its network in Gauteng following the flash floods on November 9.

“The independent report confirmed that the flood was an exceptional 1:200 year (one in 200 year) flood,” Mona said.

He also told the NEWS that maintenance of the culverts within Sanral’s jurisdiction is regularly done but the culvert system is not designed for major floods such as those which occurred.

“After every significant rainfall event, culverts are checked and cleared of debris. The independent report did not highlight maintenance as a problem,” Mona said.

“Improvements to the drainage systems is, however, being looked at. However, a holistic approach with all spheres of government has to be adopted, as solving upstream floods may cause flooding of houses downstream,” he said.

Read the full report in the October 18 edition of the NEWS.

Also read: Rains cause floods just days after Humphreys’ warning about blocked stormwater drains

Some of the vehicles which were swept down the Eastleigh Spruit during the November 9 floods.

Bedfordview and Edenvale News

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