Paarl father crushed to death by falling tree during strong winds

Father of four: Alfons Kakwata. Picture supplied

Father of four: Alfons Kakwata. Picture supplied

Published Apr 10, 2024


Cape Town - A Paarl family is mourning the death of father-of-four Alfons Kakwata, who was crushed by an uprooted tree during the black south-easter on Sunday.

The security guard at a Wellington farm was on duty, patrolling at about 8am, when the tree fell on him during gale-force winds.

His widow, Katrina Kakwata, said she last spoke to him minutes before the freak accident.

“I called him to tell him that a neighbour’s zinc flew and broke our window, he said we would talk about it when he got home.

“Around 9am, my brother-in-law told me he was going to come and see me.

“I immediately had a bad feeling. It got worse when I saw his bosses coming into my home.

“They told me there was an accident – he was on a quad bike and he got off it and a tree fell on him. It was because of the strong winds.

“He died instantly. My children are really broken.”

She described Kakwata as a good husband and father.

“He never waited for Valentine’s or our anniversary, which we were supposed to celebrate (Wednesday), he would show me love every day and I am really going to miss him.”

Kakwata is the only person reported to have been killed during the cut-off low pressure system, which started on Saturday and left scores of people homeless.

Heartche: Wife Katrina and her son Wesley. Photographer: Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers.

Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said the incident happened on Diemersfontein Wine & Country Estate.

“Preliminary information reveals that the adult male was patrolling along the fence of the property with a quad bike when a tree fell on him. He succumbed to multiple injuries.

“Wellington SAPS opened an inquest docket for further investigation,” he said.

According to Cape Town Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Charlotte Powell, incidents of structural damage were recorded in areas including Delft, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Blue Downs, Somerset West, Northpine, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Monwabisi and Strand.

She said they have arranged humanitarian relief through NGO partners, while the Roads Department was assisting with the provision of sand in some areas.

“At this stage, the number of structures affected – subject to more detailed assessment – are 2 779.

“Reports of flooding were received in Gaba Village (Leonsdale/Epping area), 12 structures in Empolweni, Khayalitsha and approximately 400 structures in Monwabisi. In many instances, affected residents are sheltering with friends and family,” she said.

“Relevant City departments are dealing with burst pipes, electricity outages and managing remaining road closures.”

Powell thanked Checkers Sixty60, Peninsula Beverages and Community Chest, that heeded the call for donations in the form of food, blankets, water and refreshments.

The provincial government on Tuesday said the Department of Infrastructure was still assessing the impact on housing.

“The department is closely liaising with the national Department of Human Settlements to have fire kits urgently delivered to informal settlements that have been ravaged by fires over the weekend.”

“While a number of roads in the Overberg, Cape Winelands, Garden Route Districts have been affected, the situation is fluid and rapidly changing.”