Critical Observations During Municipality’s Preparations For Cyclone
- Property owners urged to play their role going forward in ensuring storm water drains are clean
The whole of last week the Municipal Council of Manzini was busy cleaning storm water drains in order to mitigate the potential effect of Tropical Cyclone Eloise in the city. This followed an early warning announcement that had been issued by the Eswatini Meteorological Services to the effect that the cyclone might hit the Kingdom of Eswatini as from last Sunday. By the end of the week, at least 70% of all storm water drains in the city had been cleared of blockages; with priority being given to the ones that are deeper and usually problematic during heavy rains. In essence, the Municipality did considerably prepare for the storm. However, a number of critical observations were made during the course of the preparatory exercise; and these form the crux of today’s article. The Municipality would like to plead with citizens of the city, particularly property owners, to cooperate and play their role towards the sustainability of existing city infrastructure. Traces of irresponsible conduct by citizens were evident during the storm water drain cleaning exercise.
The Municipality discovered that a large number of storm water drains that exist in front of entrances to properties were not kept clean. They were filled with all sorts of garbage; mostly household waste. Also discovered was that there exists an illegal practice of dumping garden waste in the storm water drains. In other instances, building material such as heaps of sand, building blocks and aggregates (crushed stone) were found placed on the walkways (commonly referred to as pavements) by property owners who are in the process of performing construction works on their properties. The Municipality would like to caution citizens against such practices. Storm water drains play a huge role towards minimising flooding of properties during heavy rainfall. They also perform a significant role towards keeping the city roads in a good riding quality for prolonged periods. When people dump waste or any form of material into them, they get blocked. When blocked, it becomes impossible to have the storm water channelled into the catchment pits and, instead, the rain water either runs off the nearby road surfaces; thereby causing the development of potholes or gets discharged into nearby properties – in some cases resulting in flooding and the resultant damage to property.
The Municipal Council of Manzini, therefore, pleads with property owners, tenants and all other citizens to take responsibility and always ensure that the storm water drains at or near the entrances to their residences are always clean. They are urged to speak to their children against disposing of litter in the storm water drains. They are also urged to strongly speak to their domestic workers against dumping of garden waste on the drains. Doing so will save their properties from flooding as well as prolong the useful life of the city roads. The Municipality does conduct periodic unblocking of storm water drains but it is also important that residents play their role. The Municipality also issues a reminder that building material is not to be placed on the walkways but inside the property.
… “PLEASE PUT DOWN OLD TREES IN YOUR PROPERTIES”
Another important exercise that the Municipal Council of Manzini carried out as part of risk mitigation against Tropical Cyclone Eloise was to conduct an inspection of some of the trees that exist within the city; in particular those that are too old. The aim was to find out whether or not they were firm enough to withstand the storm. Those that were found to be risky were put down in order to avoid damage to property in the event they collapsed. It is worth-mentioning that the Municipality does not attend to trees that are located within private properties. Therefore, the responsibility over their maintenance lies with the property owners. Property owners are, therefore, urged to ensure that trees within their residences are well trimmed and old ones removed in order to avoid damage to property; including neighbouring property. Loose corrugated iron sheets and other material which can potentially be blown away during stormy weather must also be removed or tightly secured.
…MUNICIPALITY ALREADY ATTENDING TO CYCLONE DAMAGED ROADS
- The exercise started with severely damaged roads
- For inaccessible properties please immediately notify Council
The Municipal Council of Manzini has already started attending to the roads that were left damaged by Tropical Cyclone Eloise. An inspection was conducted on Monday and indications were that, whilst most of the roads remained intact due to the cleanliness of the storm water drains as well as the fact that the road surface had been attended to before the storm, some unfortunately got damaged. Ngwane Park Township and Extension, Fairview South and North, Sikhunyana Township and Peebles Block were the hardest hit. A number of road intersections in Madonsa and Extension 6 were also affected. In other instances, residents were rendered unable to access their properties. However, the Municipality sprung to action and made means to ensure those properties were accessible. Residents whose properties remain inaccessible are urged to contact the Municipality so that they can swiftly be attended to. The reality is that the Municipality will not be able to attend to all the damaged infrastructure overnight hence an appeal for patience from citizens. Priority is being given to severely damaged roads but the entire city will eventually be attended to.
The Municipality was already hard at work yesterday; fixing roads in Fairview South. Thereafter, it will move to Fairview North (Mzimnene road, Luphati road, Phophonyane and Mbuluzi Crescent). Bhimbidvwane street at Two Sticks will also be attended to after which the exercise will proceed to Ngwane Park Extension (Lishongololo, Mhlaba, Lingce, Pam, Robert, Peter Crescent streets; to name a few) before moving on to Ngwane Park Township (Linda, Ian, Church, Jennifer, Barry, Forbes and Jane streets). Residents are encouraged to continue reporting municipal service delivery faults to the Municipality’s 24/7 Call Centre (800 2004/ 2505 7000). The following photos, which were taken yesterday, show the Municipality already attending to the damaged roads…