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The City of Cape Town’s Transport Directorate has assessed road and stormwater infrastructure in the areas affected by the recent fire on Table Mountain. Several measures have been implemented and others are ongoing to mitigate mudslides, flooding, and debris landing up on roads. The winter rainfall season is upon us and over the last 24 hours we have already experienced strong winds and rain across the city.

The areas most at risk are Vredehoek, Woodstock, Salt River, and Observatory, as well as the M3 highway and Philip Kgosana Drive.

‘We are concerned about the flooding of lower lying areas and mudslides. The fire destroyed the vegetation that prevents soil from washing down the mountain slopes during heavy rains. A lot has been done to mitigate the risks, however, soil and rocks may still wash into the stormwater system during fierce winter storms and this could lead to flooding. Soil and loose rocks may also wash onto the M3 highway and Philip Kgosana Drive, so all road users will have to be very cautious when driving along these roads in coming months,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Alderman Felicity Purchase.

Teams from the Directorate’s Engineering Services Unit and Stormwater and River Management conducted assessments on 20 April 2021. This was followed up by aerial photographs of the burnt areas on 23 April 2021.

Further assessments at all fire affected areas from the University of Cape Town and Rhodes Memorial to Vredehoek happened on 30 April 2021, and another site inspection at the area above Vredehoek took place on Tuesday, 4 May 2021.

The teams assessed the gabions, retaining structures, guardrails and bridges along Philip Kgosana Drive and the M3 highway for damage.

Inspections of the stormwater infrastructure in Table Mountain National Park above Vredehoek confirmed that the gabion weirs will have to be replaced in the medium-term because of fire damage to the wire coating. Dead trees and shrubs were removed from the gullies, and sandbags were placed within the gabion weir areas.

Additional mitigation measures have also been implemented at all affected areas:

  • clearing of stormwater channels with jet machines in lower lying areas
  • placing of sandbags at high risk locations
  • installation of silt curtains in strategic locations
  • clearing of stormwater inlets in Rhodes Avenue from Rhodes Drive to Woolsack Drive, and along Philip Kgosana Drive towards Vredehoek
  • excavation of earth channels by hand along Philip Kgosana Drive
  • repair work to damaged guardrails along the M3
  • construction of temporary weirs with sandbags and poles

‘The Transport Directorate is busy finalising a detailed action plan, safe to say that all mitigation measures will be implemented before the end of May 2021. The winter rainfall season is upon us and over the last 24 hours we have already experienced strong winds and rain across the city.

‘I conducted a site visit earlier today on the lower slopes of Table Mountain around Vredehoek and above Philip Kgosana Drive to see what has been done to date and whether everything is on track. I must say I am impressed by the teams’ swift response. I will keep on monitoring the progress in coming weeks as we need to ensure all mitigation measures are in place as soon as possible,’ said Alderman Purchase.

Residents can lower the risk of flooding of their properties by cleaning their stormwater pipes, and ensuring there is nothing obstructing the stormwater inlets or flow of stormwater at and around their properties.

Please report flooding and stormwater blockages as follows:

  • phone the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63
  • send an email to Transport.Info@capetown.gov.za