Saturday winds wreak havoc

2009-12-28 00:00

THE roofs of several houses in Pietermaritzburg were blown off by strong winds on Saturday afternoon, and a family in Montrose is without wheels after a tree in their yard fell on top of their four cars that were parked near the lounge.

The cars that were damaged are a VW Golf, an Isuzu bakkie, a Ford Fiesta and a Renault Clio. The Tippiana tree also damaged part of the lounge roof.

The house owner, Heather Cyle, said her family were inside when they all suddenly heard a loud bang. “When we went outside to check what was happening, all the cars were covered by the tree branches. Everything that it fell on to is damaged, even the roof. Luckily the cars were insured,” she said.

Cyle said she was told by the land surveyor when she moved into her house three months ago that the Tippiana tree belongs to the municipality. “We have been trying to get the municipality to remove it ever since we moved in here. When I spoke to them, they told me that they were still going to decide if they were going to outsource a company to remove this tree or they were going to remove it themselves. Now they will have to remove the tree and pay for the damages that it has caused,” said Cyle.

“When we phoned the municipality to inform them about the disaster, they told us they were going to come on Monday to remove the tree,” she said.

Msunduzi Municipality disaster manager John Gutridge said about 10 other houses were also damaged by the wind. “At Jika Joe informal settlement, three shacks were left without roofs. About five or six houses were damaged in Shayamoya and the other two houses were at Imbali township,” he said.

The director of the parks and recreation department, Steven Naick, said workers were sent to cut and remove trees blown down all over the city. “The incident that occurred in Montrose will be investigated. However, the municipality is not responsible for what was caused by an act of God such as a storm and strong winds,” he said.

According to a SA Weather Bureau spokesman, the winds were between 50 and 70 km/hour. They were caused by high temperatures coupled with storms to the south and north of Pietermaritzburg.

The strong winds left parts of the city without electricity on Saturday. The manager at the Msunduzi Municipality’s electricity division, Maxwell Mthembu, said electricity was interupted between 2 pm and midnight as a result of branches that had fallen on electricity lines. Lincoln Meade, Hayfields, Scottsville, Woodlands and the northern areas experienced power outages.

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