Two have died in Gauteng’s recent storm, said Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo during a media conference in Johannesburg.
Mamabolo said several people were injured in the storm that largely affected Johannesburg and the West Rand. The affected areas were Lawley‚ Lenasia‚ Westbury‚ Slovo Park‚ Braam Fischerville‚ Snake Park‚ the Hamberg Squatter Camp‚ Simunye‚ Zuurbekom‚ Mohlakeng and Kagiso. No incidents were reported in the rest of the province.
Mamabolo said 51 RDP houses and 12 shacks were damaged in Mohlakeng. Seven of the 12 shacks were completely destroyed. In Simunye‚ close to Bekkersdal‚ four houses were damaged as assessments continue. In Roodepoort a tree fell onto a house. In Zuurbekom the roofs of 14 houses were blown off‚ power lines exposed and some roads closed off after trees fell onto the street. Mamabolo said Eskom is on the scene working on the problem.
“The provincial and the local government disaster management teams have been working around the clock in assisting with providing people with temporary relief for those affected by the storm.”
National government has provided tents‚ blankets and food for the displaced.
Gauteng Head of Disaster Management Dr Elias Sithole pleaded with communities not to attack emergency personnel after a recent incident in Ekurhuleni.
Mamabolo said: “These are experts and professionals in their field. It is not necessary for communities to interfere with them‚ to be arguing with them‚ to be trying to give them instructions … If something goes wrong‚ they take responsibility.”
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba tweeted on Sunday that he wants the storm damage declared an emergency to get emergency funding from the government.
The province will assess whether shoddy work was done in building RDP houses.
“If we see‚ clearly based on evidence‚ that there was negligence on the part of those that were building those‚ we will not hesitate to take action‚” Mamabolo said.
He pleaded with residents and motorists to respond to weather warnings‚ because the “new reality” of global warming is changing the nature of storms.
“It is no longer the normal disasters that we are used to. There is now a human factor that worsens the situation and that is what is called global warming … We are living in a completely different and changed world.”
Victims of recent storms in Gauteng are still in need of assistance, humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers has said.
“The destruction…has been extensive, affecting hundreds of homes spread out in a vast area. The houses include formal and informal dwellings, with destruction of infrastructure, furniture, equipment, clothing, food and, in some cases, vehicles, ” the organisation said in a statement.
Even though Gift of the Givers was closed for the holidays, officials decided to rather come into work on Tuesday and prepare aid packages.
“Our vehicles are being loaded with tents, food parcels, blankets, clothing, mattresses, diapers, sanitary pads, detergent packs, bottled water, stationery, sweet packs and building material.”
Contributions from companies or the public of any of these items are welcome. Cash contributions to Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account Number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, ref. Gauteng Tornado. Please send deposit slip to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com for section 18A tax certicate. See here
By Nico Gous.