KZN cleans up after massive storm

2013-01-08 08:32
A man helps to remove wood from a tree that was uprooted during a storm in Pietermaritzburg. (Jonathan Burton, The Witness)

A man helps to remove wood from a tree that was uprooted during a storm in Pietermaritzburg. (Jonathan Burton, The Witness)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - A flash storm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Sunday afternoon, preceded by hurricane-like winds, caused major infrastructural damage, with hundreds of electricity poles uprooted in various suburbs.

Residents who have been without power since Sunday were warned that it might be a while before their electricity is restored, given the extent of the damage.

Late on Monday, authorities were unable to estimate when power would be restored.

Fallen poles

The Witness learnt that teams of electricity workers were combing the suburbs for fallen poles and snapped overhead wires to repair.

On Monday, parts of Prestbury, Pelham, the CBD, Hilton, Montrose, Scottsville, Eastwood, Woodlands, Mountain Rise, Northdale and Masons Mill were still without power.

The frustration for many residents was that they did not have lights, but they could see that their neighbours had electricity.

In one street, every other house had lights. In another, the houses downstairs had electricity but not those upstairs. And not all of Hilton was plunged in darkness.

Municipal speaker Babu Baijoo said restoring the electricity supply in the various areas was taking time because it was not whole suburbs that had been affected, with one faulty substation that could be repaired.

He said private contractors had been brought in to help; there were teams from Eskom as well as crews from other municipalities.

Baijoo said the municipality was not dealing only with the electricity outages; its main priority throughout the day was helping more than 600 families across the city whose houses had been damaged in the storm.

He said there were families who had been left homeless and whose furniture and other possessions had been damaged.

The storm cut a swathe of destruction through Howick, Pietermaritzburg and uMshwathi (Wartburg).

Howick Municipality had to deal with fallen trees and damaged houses, particularly in the informal settlements.

However, Mayor Mbali Myeni said the municipality was fortunate in that the infrastructure had remained intact and the town had power.

Water supply

uMshwathi suffered a similar fate as Msunduzi, with power cables and telephones lines blown over, leaving the entire town without electricity. The water supply was also disrupted after a pipeline to the Trust Feed area was damaged.

Municipal manager Vincent Cebekhulu said Trust Feed was without water for the entire day while the pipe was being fixed.

He said the municipal offices were being run on a generator and no computers were working.

Cebekhulu said Telkom and Eskom technicians had worked for the entire day and the municipality was told it was possible that power would be restored by Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a major source of frustration for many Pietermaritzburg and Hilton residents was not so much the power outages as the fact that they could not get through to the municipality by phone.

Baijoo said city hall was also affected by the storm; some telephone lines were down and rainwater pouring through a damaged ceiling had damaged some computer servers.

None of the senior municipal managers were available on Monday night.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi and the head of the electricity department, Sabatha Nomnganga, were said to be “out in the field”.

Retired engineer Howard Richardson said he did not doubt that the municipality was doing its best, but all residents wanted to know was when their power would be restored.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the United States in mid-winter last year, it took the authorities a week to get the power restored to some parts.

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  weather

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Minister promises high security on election day

Police will be out in full force in Manenberg on election day, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has told residents of Cape Town's gang-plagued township.


Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
  • Friday Langa - 06:40 AM
    Road name: M7 Vanguard Drive Northbound
    DELAYS between Turf Hall Road and the N2 Highway
  • Friday Rondebosch - 06:38 AM
    Road name: M5 Northbound
    DELAYS between Ottery and the Kromboom Road exit
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:


Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.