Storm’s trail of damage

2015-02-09 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG vehicle body ­repair company has gone to the extent of bringing in 20 expert Brazilian technicians to cope with the influx of customers after Friday’s hail storm.

Bevan Clayton, owner of Hail Busters in Boom Street, said yesterday they had handed out almost 300 quotations for repairs to damaged vehicles over the weekend. According to Clayton, many of the vehicles brought in had to be written off because the cost of repair exceeded 60% of their value.

Mahen Jewan, from Kwikfit Glass, said they were inundated with calls for repairs to broken windows. He said Greyling Street (where the company is based) was like a “flea market” on Saturday as roadside vendors did on-the-spot windshield repairs.

One of their biggest projects, the Beacon Hill flats on Roberts Road, looked like a “warzone” — it would take at least a month to repair broken windows there.

Yesterday, black bin bags and cardboard were in abundant evidence in place of ­windows at the flats.

The destruction was wrought by ­­golf- and tennis ball-sized hailstones that accompanied Friday’s storm.

Residents described how, after just a little drizzle, the sky turned dark with a streak of orange before “hell froze over” and an onslaught of hailstones plummeted from the sky.

The city was left recovering over the weekend with residents agonising over broken windshields, dented bonnets, broken windows and roof tiles, and roads littered with debris. Many gardens were also left in tatters.

Prestbury resident Malcolm van der ­Merwe said he was in primary school the last time he saw hailstones this size. According to Van der Merwe, the storm lasted five minutes, but “trashed” his car.

His landlord, Nazeera Sivechurran, said there was extensive damage to her roof and water was gushing through the ceiling into her home.

“We’re still cleaning up and there’s so much to do. Also the streets; we’ve never seen them so dirty,” Sivechurran said­ ­yesterday.

Yesterday, Fanie van Vuuren was cleaning up the garden at his Prestbury home.

Van Vuuren said he had just taken his wife to the pharmacy at Invesco Centre when the first hailstone hit the ground.

“I was looking for parking and I managed to scoot into the last bay that was covered just in time,” he said.

Liberty Cabs owner Shabeer Sayed said two of his cars were severely damaged by the hail. The entire body of one vehicle has heavy dents and the windscreen was ­shattered.

“A few of our cars managed to get to shelter, but these two were stuck in traffic and had nowhere to go,” Sayed said.

Motoring guru Brian Bassett said some of Pietermaritzburg’s car dealerships also felt the effects of the storm.

“These dealerships don’t have the space to park all the vehicles undercover. At one dealership, at least 27 vehicles were ­damaged,” Bassett said.

KZN EMS spokesperson Robert McKenzie said several accidents were recorded across the province during the inclement weather.


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