The sun shines and we are even complaining of the heat. There are places where, a few days ago, the very thought of the sun was very far fetched and defied imagination. The rains have come and left a trail of disaster throughout South Africa. Several provinces were affected but the most affected are Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng.
Mpumalanga was the hardest hit with six people having drowned in the province. This was a result of flooding as many rivers burst their banks because of the incessant rains. The latest victim is a twelve year old boy from Ermelo. Five others were rescued in Amersfoort, Lyndenburg and Nelspruit. Police Captain Leonard Hlathi confirmed that the diving unit of SAPS had rescued a total of twelve people across the province by Friday. He expressed concern that among the six people that had drowned were children aged between two and eleven years.
Another woman who was pregnant, feeling labour pains, tried to cross a river and ended up being rescued from a tree. She gave birth immediately after being rescued. This happened in Louw’s Creek near Baberton. Still in Mpumalanga, a man had to be rescued from the top of his car while seven others were saved from the roof of their house with floods raging underneath.
In Limpopo province, the Bela Bela Dam overflowed and caused massive floods down river as a result. One sixty nine year old woman is still missing after she was washed away with her seventy four year old husband. They had been swimming in an undercover swimming pool. The body of the husband was discovered a few hours after the incident. Still in Limpopo, a total of one thousand seven hundred people had been rescued from the rains and its effect. This amounted to a total of seven hundred families. Close to two hundred of these families come from Lephalale. Consequently, the disaster management team in the province has issued a warning to motorists about the danger of driving into Lephalale as most of the roads had been washed away.
In Gauteng, there has been a lot of rain and, if the weather reports are anything to go by, there is more where that came from. To start off, in Mabopane, a taxi carrying thirteen people was swept away when the driver attempted to cross a flooded river. The passengers and driver were recovered without injuries.
The most talked about incident is that of children that are still missing from their Mamelodi homes. It is felt that they may have been swept away while they were playing near the Moretele river. Bonolo Malemela, aged nine, was last seen playing with ten year old friends Gomolemo and Neo on Monday at about 5 pm. There has been a lot of assistance from all quarters as hundreds of Mamelodi East residence joined the search everyday. The only sign of them was Gomolemo’s muddy jacket which was found along the river. The police were hoping to bring in boats in order to access areas that were too dangerous to swim.