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Extreme Weather - Mitigation strategies to save lives and money in KZN

12 December 2022

Macsteel is able to play a constructive role in rebuilding infrastructure KZN after the devastating floods caused by extreme weather in April. Maintenance and other preventative measures have been neglected country wide – over a long period of time – including KZN. Abnormal weather conditions tested government’s readiness in 2017 and again in 2022, and we were found to be unprepared to deal with the extreme nature of weather, which caused the loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure.

Extreme weather caused by climate change has wreaked havoc across the globe in recent years and South Africa has not been spared. The scary images we saw on social media as the rain hit KZN is still fresh in our minds, especially since very little has been accomplished in the rehabilitation of infrastructure since then. Experts predict that the frequency of extreme weather incidences are set to increase as climate change continues, so we can safely say that communities need to prepare for more of the same, in seasons to come.

In KZN, many communities are still without water, and in terms of the pipelines, and sewage works, all were left in a terrible condition after the floods. Sadly, before the floods, the water treatment plants and infrastructure were already stretched to their limits and operating on small budgets.

Macsteel’s ability to respond

Something needs to be done to not only fix that which was broken but to prepare for what is coming. In terms of mobilisation, Macsteel can provide a full range of solutions in those affected communities, very quickly. We can mobilise people, expertise, products and equipment very fast, across the range of services including embankment protection, rehabilitation and excavation support to replace damaged pipes – sometimes running as deep as 5 to 6 metres underground – and more. Our Macsteel Business Units complement each other, and while I lead Foundation Solutions, we work in conjunction with our colleagues who offer Fluid Control solutions to municipalities and national government. As soon government is ready to proceed and make the budgets available, we will be ready.

With our design capabilities, we can focus and design solutions around the products that we have in stock and in the country. Our team is ready to assist customers with turnkey solutions, from design to execution on rehabilitation projects, including applications around lateral support such as cofferdams, building pits and trenching for the installation of critical utility repair work.

Prevention the loss of life should be the focus.

The key thing that we should consider is the fact that extreme weather are here to stay for the foreseeable future. We have the means to protect lives and infrastructure. The embankment stabilisation and coastal protection products we offer can be used to save lives – not only in KZN but also in the rest of Africa – if we proactively apply risk mitigation strategies in high-risk areas, to protect vulnerable and exposed communities… and save money while we are at it.

Regards, Alex Fernandez
Business Development Specialist: Macsteel Foundation Solutions

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