Cold front causes chaos

Kalk Bay was among the flooded areas last week.

Last week’s cold front hit Cape Town hard with gale force winds, heavy rain and freezing cold temperatures which caused chaos in some parts of the far south.

According to Charlotte Powell, spokesperson for Disaster Risk Management, there were reports of uprooted trees in the northern suburbs and power outages in various areas across Cape Town, including Muizenberg and Masiphumelele.

She said they had received reports of roofs blown off in Hangberg and Hout Bay, and flooding in Fish Hoek Main Road.

Disaster Risk Management teams were assessing roadways for stormwater drainage, she said.

Several images surfaced on social media on Wednesday June 10 of a flooded Kalk Bay. In one picture, the road at the corner of Kalk Bay Quarter is flooded and in another, someone is standing on a stand-up paddleboard.

However, it was discovered that the pictures were from the 2013 floods.

The wall of Kalk Bay Quarter in the 2013 pictures differed from the current wall.

Kalk Bay Quarter owner, Annie Leslie, confirmed she had painted the wall of her shop in November last year.

She has been operating her shop for the past 25 years and said she had seen many floods but the 2013 floods were the worst.

She did not suffer any damages then or last week and provided the Echo with pictures taken on Thursday June 11.

Jo Adams, manager of the Kalk Bay Business Association, said many Kalk Bay businesses had taken strain in recent years.

The infamous road works, which started in July 2008 and were finished in 2017, had a massive impact on Kalk Bay businesses.

This was followed by the drought and threat of Day Zero with a noticeable reduction in tourists, both local and international.

She said the Covid-19 crisis was the nail in the coffin for many small businesses.

Meanwhile, in Fish Hoek, commuters using taxis had to face ankle -deep water at the taxi rank near the station and parts of the Main Road were also flooded.

On Wednesday June 10, Fish Hoek resident Yolandi Booyens awoke at 6am to find her garden cottage flooded and sewage coming out of her toilet due to stormwater in the sewage pipes.

“I was lying in bed and there was heavy rainfall and I thought to myself it must be terrible for the homeless and people living in informal settlements,” she said.

She switched on the light to check if water had come in under the French doors when she stepped in water.

She told her youngest son to run to his room and lift the extension cord from the floor when she heard him calling out: “Mom, mom, it’s coming through the toilet.”

She was shocked to see sewage bubbling out of her toilet and when they vacated the cottage five minutes later the sewage was ankle deep, she said.

“We have family in the main house which offered us shelter,” she said.

Ms Booyens said it was reported to the City of Cape Town as a sewage spill and officials who came to assess the problem later that day said it was the worst they had seen and referred it to another department who deals with residential sewage spills.

“We spent the remainder of Wednesday and the entire Thursday in the same clothes we were wearing during the flood. We had no dry clothes or shoes and the entire cottage was contaminated,” she said.

Ms Booyens said she was emotionally drained and they had lost so many items of sentimental value like the childrens’ soft toys when they were babies.

Mayoral committee member for transport, Felicity Purchase said the flooding of Fish Hoek Main Road and Kalk Bay is due to blockages of the stormwater outlet to the sea.

The blockages are caused by small rocks and seaweed, which wash into the pipes during heavy storms or rough seas. This, she said, prevents the upstream stormwater system from draining downstream causing the ponding experienced in the Main Road.

She said there was no direct access to this outlet, which used to be via an opening in the platform at Kalk Bay Station.

In 2014, the City’s transport department installed a heavy duty flap and dragon’s teeth to prevent this ingress, which has been largely successful up to now. However, it was recently discovered that the flap was missing and needed to be replaced. She said the department was attending to it.

“It must also be noted that the Fish Hoek flood happens with flash flooding and high tide when the sand blocks the outlets. Large portions of Fish Hoek are low lying and ponding occurs. This is a geographical constraint,” she said.

At the time of going to print the department of water and waste had not provided a response or update on the status of Ms Booyens’ situation.