R7-m project to safeguard Santareme

R7-m project to safeguard Santareme from stormwater nears completion

Almost exactly five years after a torrent of water crashed through St Francis Bay, damaging houses and municipal infrastructure in its path, the upgrade of the stormwater system at the Santareme dune field is nearing completion.

Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said work on the upgrade started in March and was set for completion by September 2017.

“The upgrade was long overdue,” she said. “We are thankful that additional measures will be in place by next month to help prevent a recurrence of that terrible day in September 2012 when a pond at the dune field breached and tonnes of water came crashing through the streets and houses of Santareme towards the ocean.”

She said the upgrade was being done at a cost of R7-million by the Department of Public Works.

“The project has two main purposes – to reduce the amount of stormwater that collects in the dune ponds and to increase the capacity of the downstream stormwater system so that water is channelled away from properties should flooding occur,” she explained.

“Any future developments in the surrounding areas will be expected to meet the downstream stormwater capacity requirements.”

She said improvements included the construction of a spillway in the larger pond of the dune field.

The spillway will consist of a piped outlet to drain the pond to the north. Overflow from the pond will drain via the existing natural flow path to the inlet of the existing culvert which, in turn, drains to the natural watercourse in the Romazini Valley.

The upgrade further includes the replacement of two 700mm diameter pipes with larger 900mm diameter pipes at the intersection of Romazini Street and St Francis Drive so as to allow for a larger volume of water to flow through the system.

The existing stormwater infrastructure in the vicinity of Diaz Drive, Cayenne Drive and Tom Brown Boulevard is also being upgraded. Work includes increasing the capacity of existing pipes and improving various overland stormwater escape routes such as new manholes and catch pits within developed areas.

A pedestrian path in an alley between houses at Tom Boulevard is also nearing completion and will serve as an overland stormwater route.

Kouga, Eskom and Red Cross forge fire partnership

Eskom and Red Cross have partnered with Kouga Municipality to help strengthen communities at Longmore and Thornhill against natural disasters.

Eskom’s Jongi Dyabaza (left) and Zama Mpondwana (right) hand over the cheque to Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen and Red Cross East Cape provincial manager Caroline Galliant.

Representatives from Eskom visited the municipality on Tuesday (15 August) to hand over a cheque of R350 000 to the Red Cross for use in areas affected by the fire disaster of June 2017.

At the hand-over Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said the focus would be on Longmore, where more than 200 residents had to be evacuated when the runaway fire threatened their homes, and the surrounding farm areas.

The fire destroyed about 27 000 ha of vegetation in the Longmore and Thornhill areas, as well as farm land, buildings and equipment.

“Kouga fire-fighters were able to save the Longmore Village from burning down, but the community was left without electricity or water because of fire damage to the infrastructure,” Mayor Van Lingen said.

“We had to act fast to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Water was trucked in, a generator and portable toilets were installed, and hot meals were delivered to the village with the assistance of community volunteers and NGOs.”

Red Cross branch manager in Port Elizabeth and the Sarah Baartman district, Coralie Peo-Swartz, said the Eskom donation would be used to equip and train affected communities on how to prevent and survive disaster situations.

“The programme marks the start of an official relationship between the Red Cross and municipality. We are grateful to Eskom for the financial assistance,” she said.

Jongi Dyabaza, stakeholder coordinator at Eskom, said the parastatal was grateful that it could help Kouga through its partnership with the Red Cross.

“Eskom takes its social responsibility towards communities seriously and we are glad that we could be there for Kouga’s people in a time of trouble,” he said.

Mayor Van Lingen emphasised the role partnerships play in building strong governance structures and communities.

“We are humbled by what’s happening here today. We have been strengthening our partnership with Eskom over the past year and are now reaping the benefit of their partnership with the Red Cross,” she said.

“We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from all corners of South Africa during the crisis and are grateful for the ongoing assistance in helping our people recover from the terrible ordeal they suffered.”