A third-year Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Mechanical Engineering student was killed when he was struck by lightning while asleep in his residence in Glenwood in Durban on Friday.
The university’s Dean of Students, Thembi Kweyama, said Mpumezi Mndwetywa succumbed to burns sustained following the severe storm that residents in Durban experienced on Friday night.
According to Kweyama, the storm resulted in a fire affecting some rooms on the third floor of Craiglee, an external university residence in Glenwood.
“Sadly, Mr Mndwetywa was asleep in his room when it was struck by a bolt of lightning. We pray that his soul rests in peace,” he said.
KZN Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, offered her condolences to Mndwetywa’s family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, fellow students, and the entire MUT community,” she said.
The MEC said it was concerning that nearly 10 lives have been lost during this rainy season due to adverse weather conditions in KZN.
“As the rainy season continues, we urge people to prioritise safety by taking precautionary measures against the elements, including lightning and strong winds.
Move to safer places, do not hide under trees and move away from anything that may be struck by lightning,” she said. The department will continue to distribute lightning conductors as a safety measure, particularly in rural areas, she added.
Meanwhile, eThekwini Municipality said mop-up operations are continuing following Sunday night’s storm that wreaked havoc mainly in the central parts of the City.
The City said Disaster Management teams set out to assess the extent of the damage on Monday and discovered that the most affected areas included Wards 29, 30 and 34.
“Clermont was the most hard-hit part of the City, with damaged electrical infrastructure.”
Municipal spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said the City received reports of landslides and trees falling onto roads and homes, mainly in informal settlements.
“Teams from the Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit had their hands full since the early hours of this morning (Monday), clearing trees and debris from roads.
This resulted in traffic being blocked in parts of the City.”
Sisilana said municipal teams from various departments will continue working around the clock to restore affected services.
“Assessments by the Disaster Management teams are continuing,” she said.
For emergency assistance, residents can contact the 24-hour call centre on 031 361 0000.