Pretoria - “The hailstorm not only drenched our homes, it also affected our businesses.”
This was one of the sentiments shared by upset business owners from Northdale Shopping Centre and Nina Park Square in Nina Park on Tuesday afternoon.
On Thursday, a monstrous hailstorm pulled down five towers supplying electricity to the Pretoria North area. As a result, Theresa Park, Wolmer, Klerksoord and Nina Park were left without electricity for five days.
When the Pretoria News arrived at Maxi’s restaurant at Nina Park Square at midday on Tuesday, there was a sign on the window reading: “Closed due to power cuts... SORRY.”
The owner, Kobus Ferreira, said he has had to make do with one generator, which his brother brought from Krugersdorp on Saturday.
Ferreira says he lost an estimated R70 000, throwing away R40 000 worth of stock, including meat and vegetables.
Dr Jane Thulo, whose medical practice at Northdale Shopping Centre has been running for four months, said her practice had “just about gone down the drain”.
She said she had not been able to use medical equipment such as a steriliser to purify equipment, an ECG for heart checks or the sonar.
Thulo also could not check patients’ heartbeats as a loud generator - which could be heard outside the window and apparently belonged to a chain store - was making too much noise. As a result she had to send patients away.
Ferreira said his biggest regret was that seven of his 17 employees had to go. “Unfortunately my policy is ‘no work, no pay’. So all my workers left.”
The business owner said even though he had insured his business “for loss of stock and loss of income”, he was uncertain whether his losses would be covered. “They just asked me to take pictures of the damaged stock. I don’t know what will happen,” Ferreira said.
By 5.30pm on Tuesday, the city reported that electricity had been restored to Theresa Park, Wolmer and Klerksoord through the installation of five mono-poles - temporary vertical structures which supply power.
“We are still discussing if in future we will stick with the mono-poles or build up the old towers, as we found that people have been vandalising them anyway,” MMC for infrastructure Jacob Masango said.
Meanwhile, at a council sitting on Tuesday, the City of Tshwane declared a state of disaster due to the “severe thunderstorm” and “subsequent severe weather conditions” from November 29 into this month. An estimated 44 800 homes had been affected. The damage was estimated to be in the region of R100 million, the city said.