BUFFETING: Yachts in the Durban marina lost their moorings yesterday as they were hit by gale-force winds.
BUFFETING: Yachts in the Durban marina lost their moorings yesterday as they were hit by gale-force winds.
TREADING WATER: Julian Singh carries a child to safety. Picture: NSRI Durban
TREADING WATER: Julian Singh carries a child to safety. Picture: NSRI Durban
As Gauteng was counting the losses following Monday’s killer storm, even more devastating rains lashed Durban yesterday, killing at least seven people.

Just like in many parts of Joburg, Durban roads were flooded, roofs ripped off and trees uprooted after a heavy hailstorm battered the coastal city.

eThekwini said large parts of the electricity system were severely affected, causing widespread tripping on the network.

A number of affected areas were remotely restored on alternate feeds.

“Supply to Mondi, Sapref, Waterfall and Gyles substations were among those affected on the high voltage network,” the city said, but it said the electricity was back yesterday afternoon.

“The networks were operating at risk and could be without power for extended periods “if these circuits experience further faults”.

Portions of the supply to Metrorail and Transnet were affected and city staff were on site making repairs.

The situation was worsened by road closures on the M4 and N2 as faults crews could not get to Lotus Park and Durban South substations.

More than 500 faults were reported, many of them affecting large areas.

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government dispatched disaster management teams to respond to the massive storm, which left a trail of destruction.

According to the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta), which co-ordinated relief efforts, the storm caused major damage to factories, homes as well as hospitals and other key infrastructure.

“In Nquthu local municipality, an eight-year-old girl was struck by lightning, and in the KwaMngxangala area, a 46-year-old man drowned trying to cross an overflowing river” said KZN Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso.

Acting MEC for Cogta Weziwe Thusi said they had activated joint operations centres in all affected municipalities which were co-ordinating relief and rapid response efforts.

A police officer was among the first victims of the storm when he was killed after a container landed on top of his car near the Durban harbour.

Netcare 911 confirmed the death of the officer. His partner survived the tragedy.

“The man, aged about 30, had sustained relatively minor injuries but was trapped inside the car when the roof collapsed under the weight of the container,” said Netcare 911 spokesperson Nick Dollman.

The Health Department said at least five hospitals had been affected.

“Management at these health facilities were assessing the extent of the damage and doing all they could to ensure patient care and safety,” it said.

Toyota said the storm had damaged its Prospecton manufacturing plant. Toyota SA president and chief executive Andrew Kirby confirmed there was significant damage to the facility, including buildings, equipment and vehicles on the production line.

In Gauteng, families on the West Rand were yesterday picking up the pieces after the storm pummelled their homes, schools and community facilities on Monday. Trees were uprooted and roofs were ripped off at Laerskool Protearif and Laerskool Muldersdrift.

Jeanita Visagie, mother of two boys, aged nine and 10, said she was saddened by the damage caused to her children’s school, Laerskool Protearif.

“Plenty of kids were still in the school when this happened.”

She was relieved that her children were not harmed but was unsure about what would happen to them now that their school had been destroyed.

“If they say that it will take a few months, I will keep them at home, but otherwise they are going back to this school,” said Visagie.

The Star team visited the school, which has about 660 pupils ranging from preschool to Grade 7.

Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi expressed concern over the two damaged Krugersdorp schools.

Steve Mabona, Lesufi’s spokesperson, said the department had sent task teams to assess the damage and estimate the costs.

“We immediately dispatched our infrastructure inspectors to both schools to assess the extent of the damage, and the inspectors have put it at about R4million.

“The department is working with all relevant stakeholders to appoint service providers to carry out the repairs,” he said.

Mabona added that the MEC’s main concern was that this was happening at a crucial time when pupils were busy preparing for their final exams.

The department confirmed that there were no classes at either school yesterday.

In the same area, rose farmer Riana du Plessis put the damage to her crops and property in the millions.

“I have never seen anything like this. It is very difficult to estimate right now, but it is millions of rand. All the structures have been damaged.

“Even if you look on the outside, you think it’s okay but when you go inside you will find the gutters lying on top of the next roof. It’s just devastating what happened here,” said Du Plessis.

She told The Star that she was on site when the storm struck.

“It’s a miracle that nobody was harmed. I actually got warnings from friends but what could I do?”

Across town in Zandspruit, residents in the informal settlement were visited by Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba and were told that help was on the way.

Zandspruit resident Lerato Moroke told The Star that she was left with nothing. - Additional reporting by staff reporters