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Sisulu warns tourists as floods wreak havoc across the country

A low-lying bridge in Tshwane has flooded after heavy rains.

A low-lying bridge in Tshwane has flooded after heavy rains.

Tshwane Emergency Services Department

  • Heavy rains in the northern and eastern parts of the country will continue into Saturday. 
  • The South African Weather Services has issued a severe storm warning for Limpopo and Mpumalanga. 
  • Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu warned tourists to be vigilant and to obey authorities.

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has warned tourists to be vigilant amid continued heavy rains across parts of the country.

In the Kruger National Park, flooding led to the closure of four camps – Lower Sabie, Crocodile Bridge, Biyamiti and Talamati.

All access gates besides Crocodile Bridge are open. Tourists are warned that the route directly from Lower Sabie to Skukuza remains inaccessible, and travel between Satara and Skukuza or Lower Sabie is not possible. 

Sisulu said: “It is important for all tourists in and around Mpumalanga and Komani areas in the Eastern Cape to be cautious, especially when travelling at night and when crossing low-lying bridges”.

Rescue teams in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal also warned residents to avoid low-lying bridges.  

The South African Weather Service issued an Orange level 9 storm warning which continues for the Lowveld and escarpment areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga for Friday and Saturday.  

The warning key works from Green, which is minimal impact, to red which is severe storm impact, and levels one to 10 signify the likelihood of a storm where 10 is highly likely.  

READ | KZN floods: Govt adapting disaster plans to prevent more catastrophic weather damage

The service warns that the impact of this type of storm could be widespread flooding, putting people at risk of being washed away.

It warns of displacement of communities, mudslides and rockfall and roads and bridges possibly washing away.  

An Orange level 5 warning was issued for Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, with the service warning that rivers were overflowing, and the continued rain could cause further flooding. 

In the western parts of the country, the service warns of “very hot” and uncomfortable temperatures reaching the upper levels of 30 °C. 

Meanwhile, Tshwane Emergency Services Department spokesperson Charles Mabaso called on motorists to not think about crossing flooded low-water bridges, “and risk losing their lives and those of their passengers as well as their assets”.  

“We also make a repeated call on those who find shelter under bridges near rivers to evacuate the rivers when it rains.” 

This as the emergency teams continue their search for a man who was swept away by the Apies River near the Pretoria Zoological Gardens at approximately 13:30 on Thursday. 

Mabaso said this was the second incident in the vicinity of the Pretoria Zoo in less than a week.  

Last Friday a man drowned after he was swept away during the ongoing rains. His body was recovered in Pretoria North the following day.   

The KZN provincial government warned residents of inclement weather conditions over large parts of the province.  

“Weather conditions could lead to the flooding of roads, settlements, and bridges. Residents are urged to exercise the utmost caution.” 

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