Heavy rains continue to wreak havoc in different parts of Mpumalanga. Areas including Mbombela and Nkomazi have been severely affected. Several houses have collapsed and others damaged in Kanyamazane, outside Mbombela. Some roads have also been closed after they were badly damaged by the storm.
Residents of Kanyamazane, who live near a stream, are extremely concerned after several houses collapsed. Last week, a resident reportedly drowned after his house collapsed. One of the residents, Sara Mhlanga, says they fear for their lives but they have nowhere to go.
“We are afraid to live in this place. My house has cracked and can collapse at any time. We never thought that one day water would collapse our homes. Now we are asking the authorities to help us with our place to stay so that we can leave this area,” Mhlanga says.
Spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in Mpumalanga, George Mthethwa, says the number of people who are losing their lives due to the storm keeps increasing.
“We now have confirmed number of fatalities at eight, that is those people who actually drowned in our rivers, dams and also streams of water. We also have people who also drowned but are still unaccounted for. So there are horrendous cases that we are dealing with. As you can see this is a classic example here in Kanyamazane wherein we had a resident whose house is right on the bank of the water stream, who actually drowned on Sunday so the search operation is still on,” says Mthethwa.
The Makhuluvu family mourns the death of a relative who drowned after his home collapsed:
The road linking Kanyamazane and Thekwane North, outside Mbombela, has been closed after a bridge was washed away. The Safety Security and Liaison Department has called on motorists to be vigilant as several roads and bridges have been badly damaged around the province.
“We are appealing to motorists to use the road with great caution and also to avoid speeding and keep the safe following distances. They also need to keep the headlamps on so they are visible. In the conditions where there is mist, they also need to be very cautious when they approach such areas. We will cooperate with all other departments such as public works, roads and transport and the affected municipalities to ensure that those roads are accordingly monitored,” says Community Safety, Security and Liaison spokesperson, Mmusi Moeti.
Authorities have once again raised concerns about some residents who continue to attempt crossing overflowing bridges despite the warnings.