Durban – MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal, Kwazi Mshengu, has advised that schools should remain closed following heavy rains, experienced in parts of the province since the weekend.
In a safety alert issued by the Department of Basic Education, Mshengu advised principals and School Governing Bodies that due to inclement weather conditions, teachers, parents and caregivers should use their discretion in deciding on whether or not to send children to school on Tuesday April 12th.
He said the department will monitor weather patterns and give further advise in this regard.
According to an internal memo, the South African Weather Services warned of a storm sweeping through KZN.
“The Department of Education takes the safety of learners and educators very seriously. It is for this reason that schools in affected areas are advised not to operate on the morning of Tuesday, April 12. Should there be learners who are already in schools by the morning of Tuesday, April 12, principals are requested to observe weather patterns and find ways to inform parents when it is safe to fetch their children.
“Parents who are able to collect their children are advised to opt for such without leaving the safety of their children in the hands of other drivers,” the memo read.
It added that employees in the departmental office buildings should leave only when it is safe to do so.
“Where there are trees that have fallen on offices and school buildings, officials and principals should advise the department,” the memo read.
Meanwhile, several roads were closed to traffic following reports of mudslides.
Residents in parts north of Durban gathered together and offered their homes to families forced to evacuate their homes due to flooding.
In Shakaskraal, two people were rescued from a tree with the help of a jet-ski.
“Medi Response search and rescue personnel, together with KDM lifeguards, responded to the R102, when it was reported that a truck had been washed away. Teams spotted the two in a tree and launched a jet-ski to affect a rescue,” said Medi Response KZN’s Paul Herbst.
So far, at least three people have died in mudslides and other weather-related incidents.
MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sipho Hlomuka, said disaster management teams have been responding to incidents such as mudslides, structural collapses and flooded roads.
“Efforts have commenced in areas such as kwaDabeka and Inanda in eThekwini to evacuate residents in high-risk areas into community halls.
Disaster management teams continue to monitor low river crossings in the Ray Nkonyeni, Umzumbe and Umdoni municipalities,” he said.
eThekwini mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, is expected to visit areas that have been affected by flooding and heavy rains in the municipality.
SAWS issued an Orange Level 8 Warning for KZN forecast to last until 9pm on Tuesday.
Orange level 8 warning: Rain: KZN: 11 – 12 April 2022 pic.twitter.com/iKlZ4qJmT5
— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) April 11, 2022