Storms displace people, stop shows

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A pile of hail on the road as Simmons Street in Johannesburg Central. Picture. Adrian de Kock, The Star

Johannesburg - Strong winds, severe rain and flooding around Gauteng have left people on the East Rand homeless and have even brought Johannesburg's art scene to a halt.

Ekurhuleni disaster management said on Friday that more than 70 shacks were rebuilt in Vumimuzi, Tembisa on the East Rand after strong winds destroyed them.

Acting director Anthony Kesten said in a statement that 140 shacks were blown down during a storm on Thursday.

“Work continues on site until late today. For the people whose shacks will not be finished today, we will put them into a tent for overnight accommodation,” he said.

The Market Theatre Laboratory announced on Friday that all Arts Alive Festival shows scheduled for the weekend had been cancelled.

“Because of the severe rain, flooding has occurred in the venue. It was deemed necessary to close the lab to the public until the requisite safety inspections have been conducted,” the theatre said in a statement.

“We wish the participants in the festival all the best for the weekend and hope to host them again in future.”

The SA Weather Service said on Friday that more rainfall and cold weather was expected in parts of the country.

Spokeswoman Kenosi Machepa said heavy rainfalls were expected over the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the eastern Highveld and escarpment of Mpumalanga, and the central parts of Limpopo on Friday.

“Temperatures will still be cool to warm over most parts of the country, but otherwise cold over Gauteng and Mpumalanga.”

Machepa said the wet weather was expected to clear completely by Saturday morning in the eastern parts of the country. Temperatures were expected to start rising from Saturday.

“A weak cold front is approaching from the west and will result in isolated showers and rain in the south-western parts of the country by Sunday.”

On Friday two cars were swept off a small flooded bridge on Valley Drive, Waterfall, in KwaZulu-Natal.

ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks said the drivers of the two vehicles were found safely on the side of the road.

“They were unharmed and just wet and cold. They would go and see their own doctor if they needed further medical assistance.”

He advised motorists not to drive through flooded areas. - Sapa


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