Roads in certain areas across Cape Town are prone to flooding during the rainy season. Flooding often occurs due to blocked stormwater drains, mostly as a result of illegal dumping into the City’s stormwater system. The City urges communities to please refrain from dumping objects in stormwater drains, and to report anyone who is doing so. Residents can also do their part by clearing their driveways, pavements and gutters.

The City’s Roads and Stormwater Department has a maintenance programme within each district. The various roads depots do regular inspections of the roads and stormwater systems, and respond to service requests from residents.

‘I recently went along with one of these teams to assist them with repair and maintenance work in Heideveld. I was impressed by the officials’ dedication and the effort and strength it takes to do this work,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Alderman Felicity Purchase.

Staff workers clean drains and clear blockages using combination jet machines and often find mattresses, rags, bottles, building rubble, and substances like motor vehicle oil in the stormwater system. The City teams have also found that people living on the streets often store their belongings in the drains, and this poses a risk as we approach winter.

‘Apart from illegal dumping, the City faces a huge challenge with the theft and vandalism of stormwater covers and frames. Repairing and replacing frames and covers cost between R3 000 and R4 500 each. Then you also have to keep in mind that it easily takes half a working day to fix a stormwater drain. Sometimes the drain is so badly damaged or vandalised that the officials have to rebuild it,’ said Alderman Purchase.

In an effort to minimise the cost the City is replacing iron casts with polymer covers.

‘Some sites are targeted time and time again. Our teams often clear major blockages and replace drain covers only to return to the same sites to find that the pipes are blocked yet again, and the covers stolen. This waste of resources and time is unjustifiable and delays essential maintenance programmes to ensure the stormwater drainage system is clear and able to cope once our winter rains arrive.

‘I’m calling on residents to please work with us and to report those who vandalise our infrastructure. In the end, those who suffer most are the people living along blocked stormwater drains as the roads will flood when the water cannot enter and flow freely through the system,’ said Alderman Purchase.

Residents are requested to report blocked drains, and stolen or damaged drain covers in their areas. Please include your name, contact number and the exact location of the blocked drain or flooded area. The exact location is very important because this will assist us to respond quicker.

‘Capetonians can also assist by clearing their driveways, pavements, and gutters of waste and plant material. We can prevent the flooding of our roads if we all do our part this winter,’ said Alderman Purchase.

Service requests can be directed to the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63. This is a 24/7 information centre and is toll-free from a landline or a cellphone.

Residents can also log a service request on the City’s website by selecting ‘Roads and Stormwater’ with the option of reporting a stolen cover, or requesting urgent maintenance work.