WHILE both the provincial government and Nelson Mandela Bay municipality (NMBM) wash their hands of the responsibility to clear the Seaview Road which have been flooded for almost two months, concerns have been raised about the damage the water is doing to this road as well as the economic impact of this important road being closed.
DA Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature Leader, Bobby Stevenson (MPL), said the ongoing crisis regarding the flooding of the Seaview Road needs to be attended to as a matter of urgency.
“A functional roads’ network is the life blood of a city’s economy. When it becomes dysfunctional, it has economic consequences, ultimately impacting on jobs.”
Last week Stevenson and DA Ward 1 councillor, Stanford Slabbert, assessed the problems in Seaview Road, which has been under water for two months and will probably be for another two months.
Stevenson said the flooding is due to the lack of drainage and there are various engineering solutions to this, including capturing the water and pumping it away.
This road is one of the main routes taken by tourists when visiting the Seaview Lion Park and Island Reserve. “Lack of access to key tourist facilities ultimately impacts on our economy as the tourist-spend is a key component of economic development. It needs to be fixed so tourists and local residents are not inconvenienced further,” said Stevenson.
A further concern is that the foundations of the road are going to become undermined and will cause the road to collapse, resulting in major repair costs. The surrounding road network is also taking a pounding, which will cause a faster deterioration of these routes due to increased traffic.
“It must be attended to as the situation will continue to recur with greater frequency as a result of the run-off caused by ongoing development in the area.”
Then there is also the concern of the potential loss of life or serious injury due to poor warning signage. “Unsuspecting motorists are unaware that the water is up to 2 metres deep in places,” said Stevenson.
Shadow MEC for Roads and Public Works, Pine Pienaar, said the Department of Roads and Public Works and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality must stop passing the buck and attend to the flooded Seaview Road as a matter of urgency.
“The matter of this road, which is partly under water, is a combined problem for the Department of Roads and Public Works and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM). Both institutions need to stop dilly-dallying and passing the buck. They need to come up with an urgent solution to make this road useable again.”
In a reply to Pienaar’s question, the MEC for Roads and Public Works, Thandiswa Marawu, acknowledged that the “challenge” of the Seaview Roads falls upon the department and the municipality.
“However, her excuse that the draining of a natural lake that forms on the road after excessive rain would be a ‘costly exercise’ is simply not a satisfactory answer. Nor is her attitude that ‘the local residents will unfortunately have to bear with us’,” said Pienaar.
According to Marawu there are a number of municipal streets that collect stormwater during the rainy season and eventually dispose of it on Seaview Road. “This makes the challenge fall precisely to both the department and the metro. The metro has to develop a storm water management plan for this area in order to solve this problem,” Marawu said.
Tony Arthur, Assistant Director of Roads and Stormwater of the NMBM’s Infrastructure and Engineering Directorate, said the Seaview Road (Main Road 422) is definitely not a municipal road.
“The MR 422 is the responsibility of the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works and is recorded on their data base,” said Arthur.
“Service delivery and the maintenance and repair of infrastructure is the core business of the department and the municipality. They need to get on with the job,” said Pienaar.