Johannesburg - Cathlin Sassen, her mother, brother and friend arrived at Marina Letata in the Vaal on a sunny Monday afternoon.
The 20-year-old speech therapy student said while they prepared to take their boat out to the Vaal Dam, disaster struck.
A tornado tore through the Vaal Marina area, leaving a trail of destruction and despair.
“When we arrived here, the sun was shining and we were getting read to take the boat out to the dam. The wind just started blowing heavily.
“We rushed to the spare room and when I looked outside the window, I saw a white cloud just going round and round. I was scared and could not believe what was happening,” Sassen said.
She said she had never seen anything like this before.
“It was frightening,” she said.
Her mother, Sue Powell, said they had owned the holiday home for 13 years.
"I am really sad about the boat we have had for nine years. It is not about the boat but more about the memories we shared on it," Powell said.
In another plot in the area, cleaner Dadirai Mushamba said she and her children prayed during the storm.
“It was so bad. I could not believe what was happening. We prayed and prayed until it was over. Our house was not badly affected but many houses in the plot were,” Mushamba said.
At Mamello informal settlement, the hardest hit area, hundreds of people have been displaced.
MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs and human settlements Paul Mashatile assured residents affected by the storm that both the provincial and local government will continue to work closely to bring humanitarian relief to them.
He said disaster management had so far indicated that 565 shacks were damaged at Mamello, with an estimation of more than 1000 people affected. He said the injured were transported to various hospitals.
Mashatile said the affected households were provided with alternative shelter, food, blankets and medical care while the disaster management teams are busy assessing the extent of the damage in the formal areas.
“The swift response by disaster management and EMS personnel, coupled with the interventions and aid assistance by various NGO’s (non-governmental organisations) and private entities to bring humanitarian to the affected communities, are not going unnoticed,” said Mashatile.