One dead, Thousands Displaced by South African Floods, Power Cuts

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has had to cut short his trip in Egypt to visit flooded areas and talk with Eskom.
  • Heavy rains have hit South Africa causing a lot of havoc in a country that is battling power black outs.
  • South Africa is the latest African country to be hard hit by floods.

At least one person has died and properties have been destroyed by floods in South Africa. Cooperative, Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, confirmed the fatality. “We are saddened by the loss of life. We just learnt this morning that a washed-up body was discovered in Centurion. There are also secondary problems that are arising, such as sinkholes,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

Eskom is a South African electricity public utility, established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM) and also known by its Afrikaans name Elektrisiteitsvoorsieningskommissie (EVKOM), by the government of the Union of South Africa in terms of the Electricity Act (1922). The utility is the largest producer of electricity in Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has had to cut short his trip in Egypt, and his office has stated that he is set to visit the flood hit areas. Ramaphosa will also have a talk with the troubled state run power utility, Eskom, so as to reach an amicable solution.

Heavy rains have hit South Africa causing a lot of havoc in a country that is battling power black outs. Power stations and coal mines have been submerged by the raging flood water. The public broadcaster SABC has reported that at least 700 homes near the capital, Pretoria, have been washed away. South Africa Weather Service (SAWS) had on Sunday issued warning about flooding in Guateng, North West Province, and Limpopo. SAWS has added that areas that have experienced flash floods are expected to have more rains.

Guateng was hard hit with houses, cars and infrastructure being swept away. In Mamelodi, a video footage that circulated showed cars, shacks and even people submerged by the flood waters. Citizens stranded in the Lake Hotel in Centurion were evacuated by the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) helicopters. SANDF was called for the rescue operation in the northern parts of the country.

Eskom warned of further power black outs, also known as load shedding, in South Africa. It said that flooding at a coal mine and power station had cut off supplies to homes and business premises, adding that 6,000 megawatts of electricity— around 10% of the grid— was being switched off. “The outlook this week is to maintain load shedding because of the weather, because of the coal handling we’ve got,” Eskom’s chief of operations, Jan Oberholver, said.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is the public broadcaster in South Africa, and provides 19 radio stations (AM/FM) as well as five television broadcasts to the general public. Opposition politicians and civil society often criticise the SABC, accusing it of being a mouthpiece for the ruling African National Congress; during the apartheid era it was accused of playing the same role for the-then National Party-led government.

The power cuts and flooding have greatly stopped gold and diamond mining in leading mines. Harmony Gold has said it has halted called underground shifts due to load shedding. On the other hand, Petra Diamonds said it was removing people from the underground except for them whose services are essential.

It’s been a week since Eskom reintroduced load shedding due to pressure on the electrical grid and fear of a nationwide blackout. Although the embattled power utility vowed to remedy the situation, it has gotten worse. It is believed that Eskom’s trouble has cost South African economy.

South Africa is the latest African country to be hard hit by floods. According to United Nations office for the co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, almost 300 people have died and around 2.8 million affected by the recent floods in East and Central Africa.

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Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world


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