The Western Cape Government has ordered the closure of all public schools in the Cape Winelands, Overberg, and Somerset West areas due to the heavy rainfall and gale-force winds expected in the district’s towns on Monday.

Premier Alan Winde, together with some cabinet MECs, briefed the media on Sunday.

The South African Weather Service issued a level 9 weather warning, which includes gale-force winds and heavy rain.

Already, the heavy winds wreaked havoc in parts of the Cape yesterday.

The provincial education department says at least five cases of substantial damage have been reported so far in the province.

But no injuries have been reported so far.

The province says the extent of damage is yet to be determined.

Rescue and disaster management teams are expected to visit all affected schools.

Winde says they didn’t have a choice but to close schools to protect lives.

“We don’t ever want to really close schools, but we also need to make sure we are erring on the side of caution. Today (Sunday), we have already seen some schools lose their roofs. We have seen in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch some fire that goes with these high winds. We have also seen in Drakenstein some fire that goes with these high winds”.

Schools are not the only ones impacted.

People were also evacuated from Somerset Mall and some health facilities.

Premier Alan Winde is appealing to Western Cape motorists to refrain from taking long trips, due to heavy rain expected today.

Winde says the Disaster Management Centre has already been activated to respond to any incidents.

“Everybody across this province please be safe out there. We need people to consider if they’re travelling, rather if possible mitigate long-distance travel across some of the areas that will experience level 9 weather warnings. Make sure you stay clear of passes, bridges and high-risk areas in those specific districts”.

Picture: Western Cape Education Department (Groenheuwel Primary School in Paarl)