Johannesburg - At least two people have died as a result of the violent storm and heavy hail and rainfall that hit parts of Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, Gauteng infrastructure development MEC Jacob Mamabolo said on Sunday.
"We have received reports that two people have died in Lenasia as a result of a tree which fell on top of their car as they were travelling. We pass our sincere condolences to their family," Mamabolo said at an urgent briefing to provide a province-wide update about the severity and impact of Saturday's hail storm.
A number of incidents were reported in parts of the south and west of Johannesburg as a result of the storm, including the structural collapse of parts of the roof and subsequent flooding at the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia.
The storm uprooted trees which closed certain roads and also damaged houses, blowing off roofs, and vehicles in various areas, especially in Protea Glen in Soweto. Six people were also injured in a minibus taxi crash on the N12 near Impala Road, while several other minor crashes during the storm were received.
Mamabolo said the Gauteng disaster management team was doing a thorough assessment of the damage, and urged residents and motorists to seriously heed weather warning alerts. Johannesburg and Mogale City were most affected by the storm. He also thanked the mayors of in these municipalities for being hands-on and conducting site visits.
The most seriously affected areas were Lenasia, Protea Glen, Westbury, Kagiso on the West Rand, and Bekkersdal, among others.
"Government at the moment is providing tents, food parcels, and blankets to those affected by the storm. We are also doing a financial assessment of the extent of the damage of this storm," Mamabolo said.
"There are about 51 RDP houses and 12 shacks that were damaged in Mohlakeng, and what worries us is that the owners of these houses are away on holidays because this is a migrant workers province, so some people have gone to their respective homes and they are not aware that their shacks have been destroyed."
Mamabolo said his department was also contacting other municipalities in the province in a bid to determine how much the storm affected their residents.
Meanwhile, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba also confirmed on Twitter that two people died in Lenasia when a tree fell on top of their car.
Mashaba said he was trying to have the affected areas declared an emergency in a bid to get emergency funding from national government to assist the communities.
"Due to the extent of the damage caused, the city cannot hope to address the needs of all those affected alone. To this end, this afternoon [Sunday] our city teams will meet with the relevant departments and units from the Gauteng provincial government in order to find ways to address the needs of those most affected," Mashaba said.
Mamabolo said he would brief premier David Makhura once all reports had been consolidated, and only then could the premier declare parts of the province a disaster area.
African News Agency/ANA