STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: TRANSPORT FOR CAPE TOWN, COUNCILLOR BRETT HERRON
Each year Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority, undertakes major maintenance projects to mitigate and limit potential flooding associated with the winter rainfall season.
By the end of May 2016, the planning department of Transport for Cape Town (TCT) would have spent more than 90% of our budget intended for the maintenance and cleaning of stormwater infrastructure, channels, canals and rivers.
Apart from the proactive maintenance and planned cleaning undertaken by TCT’s eight district offices, the personnel from TCT’s 20 local road depots across the eight areas also do reactive maintenance as and when residents report blockages to the City through the C3 fault reporting notification system.
This is a mammoth task, given that TCT is responsible for the following:
- 7 500 km of pipes, culverts and underground conduits across the city which are cleaned on a monthly basis
- 180 000 catch-pits which are cleaned at least once every three months
- 85 000 stormwater manholes which are cleaned at least once every three months
- 850 stormwater retention ponds which are cleaned at least once every three months
- 1 200 km of rivers, canals and open channels which cleaned at least twice a year, but fortnightly in some areas where illegal dumping and littering is endemic
The City prioritises informal settlements where we focus on the formal and open drainage systems. We do more frequent inspections of the infrastructure and increase cleaning operations as far as possible in the run-up to the rainy season. The budget for maintenance and cleaning projects in informal settlements is R11,5 million for the current financial year (2015/16), with expenditure currently standing at R8,4 million. Another R1,95 million will be spent this month and, as such, by 31 May 2016 TCT would have spent at least 91% of this budget.
The budget and expenditure for repair and maintenance work the past 11 months is as follows:
- The budget for the cleaning of rivers: the removal of aquatic weeds, reeds and other vegetation impeding the flow of water or which has the potential to cause blockages is R22 million for the current financial year (2015/16). Expenditure stands at R18 million, with another R2,9 million to be spent within this month. As such, by 31 May 2016, TCT would have spent at least 95% of the budget.
- The budget for the cleaning of pipes, culverts and underground culverts is R32,6 million for the current financial year (2015/16). Expenditure currently stands at R22,6 million with another R8 million to be spent within this month. As such, by 31 May 2016, TCT would have spent at least 95% of the budget.
- The budget for the maintenance and cleaning of stormwater retention ponds is R8,1 million for the current financial year (2015/16). Expenditure currently stands at R6 million, with another R1,4 million to be spent this month. As such, by 31 May 2016, TCT would have spent at least 91% of the budget.
- The budget for the cleaning and maintenance of catch-pits is R21,4 million for the current financial year (2015/16). Expenditure currently stands at R14,3 million, with another R5,3 million to be spent this month. As such, by 31 May 2016, TCT would have spent at least 92% of the budget.
The budget for the cleaning and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure and water sources for each of the eight districts is as follows:
- Blaauwberg District: R8,1 million
- Kraaifontein District: R9,7 million
- Bellville District: R11,9 million
- Somerset West District: R10,8 million
- Cape Town District: R10,2 million
- Athlone District: R12,8 million
- Khayelitsha District: R12,6 million
- Plumstead District: R8,1 million
Expenditure currently stands at R60,8 million, with another R17,6 million to be spent this month. As such, by 31 May 2016, the abovementioned eight districts would have spent at least 93% of their budget.
As part of its maintenance activities, TCT hires specialised river and stormwater network cleaning equipment with long-reach excavators and we also use wheeled loaders to remove rubbish. It is difficult and costly to remove silt and other debris from our underground infrastructure such as the pipes and culverts.
The inlets along roads and the connection pipes are cleaned as often as required. This is mostly done by hand crews and in areas with high pollution levels, such as in the informal settlements and suburbs with high-density housing, we use drain cleaning suction tankers.
The Salt River catchment area consisting of nine rivers and three wetlands; the Zeekoei catchment area consisting of six wetlands; the Diep River catchment area consisting of a river and a wetland; the Sand River catchment area consisting of 10 rivers and 10 wetlands; the Hout Bay catchment area consisting of two rivers; the Peninsula catchment area consisting of two wetlands; the Eerste Kuils River catchment area consisting of three rivers, a wetland and three dams; are all cleaned two to four times annually. The maintenance programme for the current year is now nearing completion.
In the Somerset West District, for example, we have already cleaned a number of canals and rivers, among which: the New Macassar Canal, Soet River Canal, Onverwacht Canal, Sir Lowry’s Pass River, Rhine Stream Canal, the Geelsloot, Melcksloot Paardevlei, Sir Lowry’s River, Bloubos Canal and inlet, De Velde Canal and the Moddergat Spruit.
Our biggest challenge remains illegal dumping and littering.
We clean the canals, rivers, inlets and culverts as often as our resources allow, however, I must admit that we cannot keep up with the frequency and dumping of waste in our water resources and other road infrastructure.
I am appealing to our residents to please work with us, as these objects block our stormwater infrastructure, resulting in flooding during heavy downpours.