KZN storm leaves 5 people dead

Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality mayor Zodwa Mzindle (white top) assessed the damage caused by the storm in Margate on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. | Supplied

Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality mayor Zodwa Mzindle (white top) assessed the damage caused by the storm in Margate on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. | Supplied

Published Apr 16, 2024


Durban — A trail of destruction caused by the storm in Margate on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal would run into millions of rand.

The storm that swept through the South Coast tourist town on Sunday left five people dead and several businesses and infrastructure damaged.

Speaking to the Daily News on Monday, Surina Smart from the Margate Business Association said although the association was still trying to quantify the damage, it was expected to run into millions and millions of rand.

Businesses, especially those along the sea, were badly affected, she said. The rainfall was estimated to be around 300mm.

“The damage is huge and will run into millions of rand to repair,” said Smart.

The town was also visited by provincial Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi, who was accompanied by the disaster management teams.

After the assessment, the department’s spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said the MEC visited the families of the people who perished.

He said three of them were in a car swept off the road by the gale-force winds while one other person was struck by lightning. Mngadi said it was not yet clear how the fifth person died but it was as a result of the storm.

“Our disaster teams and engineers are still on the ground, and they are not yet in a position to quantify the damage. Once the assessment has been completed, we will share with the public the extent of the damage in monetary terms,” said Mngadi.

Mngadi said no families were displaced, but some homes were partially damaged.

Earlier in the day, Ugu District Municipality spokesperson Wendy Mqadi had confirmed the discovery of two people who had died.

She said the vehicle they were travelling in had been discovered by the disaster management teams and police diving unit, who started combing the area.

Mqadi said the most affected areas included popular holiday destinations in Margate and Uvongo.

The South African Weather Services (Saws) had on Saturday warned of damaging winds, excessive lightning, and heavy downpours over the eThekwini, Ray Nkonyeni, Umdoni, and Umzumbe areas.

The area was also visited by Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality mayor Zodwa Mzindle and Ugu District Municipality mayor Sikhumbuzo Mqadi who said there could be more bodies given the severity of the damage.

The mayor said the district disaster management teams were on standby as the weather services predicted more rainfall along the areas on the coastline.

The rescue teams were said to have struggled to reach other affected areas because many roads were damaged.

Margate, a small town outside Port Shepstone, is a tourist attraction, and there were fears that the damage will negatively affect tourism.

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