South Africa: President Ramaphosa to Visit Flood Battered Areas

Flooding in Durban.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will today visit flood ravaged KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape when he returns from a working visit to Egypt.

During the visit, the President will assess areas severely damaged by floods. He will also review recovery efforts.

President Ramaphosa is due to return to South Africa in the course of the day following a working visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt, where he attended an emergency African Union (AU) Troika Summit convened to discuss the political and security situations in Sudan and Libya.

This morning, authorities revealed that the floods had claimed the lives of 51 people.

"As South Africans, the entire nation's thoughts and prayers are with the people of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, who have been affected by the forces of nature against which they had little defence.

"Our hearts go out particularly to families and communities who have been directly affected by death, injury and the loss of property. This situation calls on all of us to pull together as a country to reach out to affected communities and to help alleviate their hardship," the President said.

The President has welcomed the response of provincial authorities and national agencies to the calamity, as well as the support and goodwill - material and otherwise - provided by various sectors of civil society.

President Ramaphosa reiterated government's call for communities to avoid crossing low-lying bridges, streams and rivers; and for motorists to exercise caution and avoid driving in flooded areas.

Meanwhile, the weather did not spare ICT infrastructure either.

On Wednesday, Openserve, Telkom's wholesale and networks division, said it had recorded a significant increase in network related faults.

"The flooding has restricted technicians from accessing underground accesses in the fault zones and will cause delays in repair times," said Pynee Chetty, Openserve spokesperson.

Chetty said the extent of the damage to infrastructure in KZN, which spans buildings, indoor and outdoor core and access network infrastructure, is substantial and the net impact is still being assessed.

"Overhead cables have also been affected with trees becoming waterlogged, resulting in branches breaking or falling onto overhead cables with resultant damage. Lightning has also caused damage to the cable network and customer premise equipment," he said.

Openserve CEO Alphonzo Samuels said the company is proactively monitoring all critical sites to minimise service interruptions.

"[We] are doing our utmost to restore services in affected areas as soon as possible.

"We understand the great inconvenience the disconnection of our services brings to our clients and their customers. We will therefore be on extra high alert during this period, mobilising all available technicians to work additional hours if needs be," he said.

Samuels advised residents and business that run on Openserve's network to report faults via their respective service providers.

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