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Pretoria - Dozens of people were displaced, cars were swept away and train services disrupted as stormy weather battered large parts of the country on Thursday. Metrorail services in Gauteng were disrupted, causing major delays.
“Lightning hit a substation at Pinedene station in Centurion, rendering both lines without overhead power,” Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) spokeswoman Lillian Mofokeng said. The outage affected all trains on the lines between Pretoria and Joburg.
The Tshwane metro electricity department expressed concern at the city’s high power consumption and urged residents to turn off non-essential items during the cold weather.
Rush-hour traffic was brought to a standstill and some homes in the north of the city were flooded in the heavy rain and hail across the metro.
The downpour flooded homes and low-level bridges and damaged cars, Tshwane emergency services reported.
Rain and hail were reported in many parts of the city early on Thursday. More of the same was reported in the afternoon, adding more than an hour to the CBD peak rush hour.
There were also reports of cars getting stuck in mud and trees being uprooted across the city.
Tshwane emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse said: “Pretoria North was the worst hit, with several reports of flooded homes.” Pieterse said some of the city’s outlying areas were also affected.
Sarajini Govender, of De Wagensdrift off the Moloto Road, said her home was flooded. Parts of the ceiling collapsed. She estimated that the water reached half a metre.
“It is terrible - where do we get help? My husband had a heart operation and he and my son are using buckets. There is too much water.”
Shawn Viviers, of Pretoria North, said his Wendy house was flooded and all his furniture damaged. The property the Wendy house is on is at the end of a dirt road. The water came flooding down the road and straight into his 5m x 8m Wendy house, Viviers said.
“My bed is dry, but the children’s bed is completely soaked. I have lost my TV, radio and bar fridge. The water was about 10 to 15cm deep.”
Tshwane metro police spokeswoman Louise Brits said metro police attended to 12 car accidents between 2.45am and 4.45pm on Thursday. A number of bumper-bashings in the afternoon added to the traffic congestion.
The Amandelboom and Tsama low-level bridges in Doornpoort were closed because of flooding. SA Weather forecaster Bransby Bulo said heavy rainfall and hail were not unusual for this month. M
ore thundershowers were expected until early Friday.
The rest of Friday is expected to be partly cloudy, with little chance of rain. Warmer weather is expected over the weekend.