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THE STAR

Low laying roads in Freedom Park near Eldorado Park were flooded as rain persisted on Wednesday morning.Picture: Timothy Bernard

Johannesburg -

Stuck up a tree, a woman in labour had to be airlifted to safety as a torrent of water flowed beneath her in Mpumalanga this morning.

Endless rain on Wednesday has also led to car accidents, road rage incidents and dams overflowing in Joburg, and it is feared there could be serious flood damage in Kruger National Park.

The police diving unit in Mpumalanga rescued nine people in separate incidents on Wednesday morning, including the pregnant woman, who found refuge in a tree by Louw’s Creek near Barberton.

“She went into labour and tried to cross the river to get to hospital,” said the unit’s spokeswoman, Captain Joey Potgieter. She was airlifted to safety and gave birth.

Potgieter said seven people also had to be rescued off the roof of their house and another man from his car’s roof on a low-lying bridge in Tonga.

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The water level at Kruger National Park is nearing that of the flooding in February 2000, during which the SANDF had to evacuate the Skukuza area. Infrastructure such as roads and bridges were damaged.

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Four people drowned across the province, Potgieter said.

And the heavy rain is unlikely to stop - for at least another day.

The Westdene Dam overflowed on Wednesday morning and a pothole on Main Reef Road reportedly caused havoc.

“The #pothole on Main Reef is just before Stormmill. Just after the robot. And in the middle lane. Huge,” tweeted Noeleen Thompson (@noeleenthompson7).

Joburg metro police spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said she had heard media reports of the pothole, but the traffic authority had received no reports directly.

She said officers had their “hands full” as roads were flooded and traffic lights were out.

Hamza Moosa, a motorist travelling to work in Houghton, said he was intimidated and was racially abused in a road rage incident today.

He said he had a near-miss with a car and put his hand up to apologise because he said he did not see the car’s indicator.

The car then followed him, overtook him in the oncoming traffic lane and allegedly slammed on its brakes, causing him to go into the back of it.

He said the man was abusive when he saw his North West licence plate.

“Then he started saying ‘go back to North West’ and using the word Taliban,” Moosa said.

Moosa said he told the man that he couldn’t speak to him like that, to which the man allegedly responded: “I can get people killed for less.”

Moosa said he opened a case at the Rosebank police station.

Elsewhere, ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring said two cars had rolled in Gauteng, one this morning and one last night.

Last night three people suffered minor injuries when a car rolled in Carletonville, and another person sustained minor injuries in Westville this morning.

“We’ve had a couple of other minor incidents this morning, nothing too hectic,” Meiring said.

“Flooded roads: Bridge Road, Klipspruit West, Stockwell Avenue, Nancefield Industria, Mpumelelo, Vlakfontein BPS,” the Johannesburg Roads Agency tweeted today.

Meanwhile, the water level at Kruger National Park is nearing that of the flooding in February 2000, during which the SANDF had to evacuate the Skukuza area. Infrastructure such as roads and bridges were damaged.

The Crocodile River bridge and gate were closed, but no other gates or bridges had been affected, said the park’s spokesman William Mabasa.

“It’s almost at the same level as 2000,” Mabasa said.

But SA Weather Service forecaster Christina Thaele has warned the rain will not end on Wednesday. The service has issued flood warnings for Thursday, and while the rain is expected to slow on Friday and Saturday, heavy showers are likely to return on Sunday.

A flood warning has been issued for Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Simultaneously, heavy rain was expected to persist across the greater Tshwane area until at least Monday.

The weather has already led to a woman being trapped under her car in Brits, and a man being rescued from the Hennops River in Centurion.

brendan.roane@inl.co.za

The Star


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