The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEAT) has finally given the go-ahead to breach the Seekoei River mouth and the breaching will start this morning, 30 September.
Photo of the flooded causeway between Paradise Beach and Aston Bay by John Wiehahn
Breaching the mouth will help to lower the water levels of the estuary and clear the causeway that connects Paradise Beach to Jeffreys Bay. The causeway has been submerged with water for more than a month following unusually high seas in August.
This comes after a few days earlier DEAT refused to allow the estuary to be breached, resulting in the municipality closing the causeway two days ago on 28 September as it considered it unsafe.
The closure resulted in a huge outcry from residents in Aston Bay and Paradise Beach who invited media, including national organisations, such as such as SABC and Carte Blanche to publicise their plight.
Residents complained they were trapped and had to use bad gravel roads as detours and travel at least 20 extra kms a day, causing hardship for residents. The SABC and other media took photos of the road being barricaded and broadcast and published the residents’ complaints over the past two days.
In announcing the turnabout news this morning, Kouga Municipality said DEAT gave the permission yesterday, 29 September, that the estuary could be breached. She said the Department was finally convinced that the Seekoei estuary qualifies as an emergency in terms of the National Environmental Management Act
She also said the municipality would start breaching this morning, with an official from Environmental Affairs supervising the process, as per the authorisation letter. “Once the water level has decreased, a structural assessment of the causeway will be done as a matter of urgency to determine what repairs need to done and how quickly it can be opened for traffic again.”
- Edited by Bev Mortimer