9 January 2018

South Africa: Parts of Joburg Declared Local State of Disaster

The Johannesburg storm that swept through parts of Soweto before New Year's Eve and ravaged houses has been declared a local state of disaster by the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg.

"In the main, the damage to homes included failing roofs, collapsed boundary walls and altered homes as well as wall cracks. The affected structures are said to be between 1- 20 years old. ... the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, declared this a Local State of Disaster after consultation with the relevant stakeholders," said the housing regulatory body, the National Home Builders Regulation Council (NHBRC) in a statement.

According to the NHBRC, in an unconfirmed preliminary report, the South African Weather Services referred to the storm as Tornadic Supercell Thunderstorm with an EF2 damage rating.

Inspectors and engineers have been hard at work conducting visual assessment of the houses that were damaged by the storm for the past six days.

"The team worked through this past weekend in order to ascertain the extent of the damage as well as preliminary causes of said damage," said the NHBRC.

On Monday, the NHRBC assessed approximately 4500 houses in the following townships, Protea Glen, Lufhereng, and Lawley.

The total of 33 houses at Protea Glen damaged by storm will undergo further detailed investigation, in the form of materials testing as well as design and workmanship review. This phase will be conducted by independent professionals.

The affected areas include Protea Glen; Lawley; Braamfischerville; Slovo Park; Snake Park; Doornkop; Lufhereng; Tsepisong; Meadowlands; Westbury; Alexandra; Rugby Club Informal Settlement; and Fleurhof.

The NHBRC has further committed to working with the City of Johannesburg's Joint Operations Centre (JOC), established to locate centralised management of the disaster efforts by all stakeholders.

"Further support will be provided to the investigators from the City's Group Risk Advisory Services, established by the Executive Mayor, to conduct a full risk assessment of the damage caused by the storm," said the NHBRC.

Housing consumers have been urged to report damage by submitting a complaints form with the NHRBC. The forms can be downloaded from www.nhbrc.org.za or by calling toll-free 0800 200 824 and 011 317 5507. You can also email thenhbrc@nhbrc.org.za.

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