KZN hopes to get conductors to people at lightning speed

2011-10-05 11:40

KwaZulu-Natal is to speed up the distribution of lightning conductors to mostly rural areas after two people were killed by lightning strikes this weekend.

Nomusa Dube, the MEC of cooperative governance and traditional affairs in the province, has warned the province’s residents to be on full alert.

Lightning claimed the lives of two men in the province on Sunday, leaving eight others critically injured and in hospital.

Dube visited Loskop’s Makekeni village, a few kilometres outside Estcourt, on Monday after the weekend’s disaster.

A traditional celebration turned sour on Sunday for the Mazibuko family when they lost their son, Mduduzi Mazibuko (30) and his friend, Reginald Nene (26). Mazibuko was struck and died instantly, while Nene died a few minutes later after efforts to resuscitate him failed.

Fourteen others were injured, eight critically.

Dube, who handed out lightning conductors to the community, said she was devastated by the occurrence.

She said the provincial disaster management centre has warned that the province was to experience further similar incidents.

“We have therefore decided to speed up our programme of distributing lightning conductors across the province, mainly in rural areas which are most prone to fatal lightning strikes. In addition, we are enhancing our safety awareness campaign, which we started late last year,” she said.

“We would like to warn communities that the coming rainy season is expected to result in floodings and heavy winds as well. As the department, we are therefore deploying our teams to all the municipalities so that they are based there and can be able to provide rapid response in case of such disaster incidents,” said Dube.

Mother Nature unleashed her full force across the country this weekend. A tornado hit Duduza Township on the East Rand on Sunday night.

In Ficksburg, Free State, another tornado struck.

Lucky Makhwedzha, forecaster with the Durban Weather Service, said rainfall of up to 96.4 millilitres was registered in Margate on Sunday.

“We would like to continue to admonish people to listen to the radio for warning signs so that it is easier to take precautions.

“But I reiterate the safety tips we always warn against in any thunderstorm. Stay indoors, avoid windows or using water, such as bathing. And don’t use the telephone. And if you are caught out in the open during a thunder storm, avoid standing under trees or power lines,” he said.

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