On 11 April 2022, a severe weather system triggered floods in the Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN) province leading to dumping a rainfall of more than 300mm in the Ethekwini Municipality area over a 24-hour period. This was a direct weather hit on South Africa’s third most populous city.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala described the floods as "the greatest disaster in the life of our country," directly affecting 17 438 households, translating to 121 687 people. On Wednesday 13 April, the Kwa Zulu Natal floods were declared a provincial disaster.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared the KZN floods a national disaster – the official death toll is well over 448 with billions of Rands in infrastructural damage. The knock-on logistical effect magnifies the disaster following on flooding of major Durban-based factories.

The Monday 11th April night-time flood left a morning after to survey the flood wreckage upon which Isuzu Motors South Africa and their KZN dealer, Key Group teamed up with Ethekwini Municipality and leapt into action. Apart from severe road damage, access to stricken communities was blocked by numerous landslides with the destruction of bridges, water, and electricity infrastructure.

A distressed call was received by Isuzu and Key from EThekwini asking for assistance. This was a time for active, physical relief, not just passing on financial support. Isuzu Motors South Africa and Key Group assembled a fleet of front-end loaders, tippers, and water tankers to operate alongside the Municipal fleet for a two-week period – this also included the supply of qualified heavy-duty truck drivers to be accessed and supplied with food and accommodation just prior to the Easter weekend on the 15 of April. The Premier Hotel in Pinetown provided driver accommodation at a special supportive rate for the Gauteng drivers.

The operational tipper truck fleet and front-end loaders were sourced from Hire All in Gauteng and from Aqua Bulk in Westmead, Pinetown. An operational centre was set up to guide activities that were divided by colour-coded triage to grade the level of emergency plus priority.

Tony Dos Reis, Key Group Joint Managing Director, concludes: “While there were weather forecasts cautioning of heavy rain, no one was prepared for this intensity of flooding and scale of destruction. We have been warned of climate change – the tragedy is that this event can repeat itself. Much of the damage is going to take many months to fix and let’s hope this type of weather event stays away. Our hearts go out to the people who have lost loved ones and communities whose infrastructure has been damaged.”

For further information please contact Tony Dos Reis at tony.dosreis@keygroup.co.za or at 031 713 3146.