Still counting cost

2015-02-13 00:00

ONE week after the freak hailstorm last Friday, damaged roofs and cars continue to be a common sight in ­Pietermaritzburg.

Driving around the city, it is easy to spot cars with deep dents and broken windshields or house roofs covered in tarpaulins held down by pieces of broken tiles that were broken during the storm.

It has been a seven-day nightmare for many residents in and around the city as insurance and repair companies ­cannot keep up with the claims, leaving most people still waiting for their cars and property to be fixed.

Marsheel Chandramohan (22) from Orient Heights said he recently purchased a limited edition Alfa Romeo which he barely got to enjoy before it was pounded by the hail.

Chandramohan, who was returning from work, was stuck in traffic on Ohrtmann Road when the “icy boulders” started to fall.

“When I heard the first one hit, I ­panicked. I managed to get to the Caltex Garage but it was packed with cars and I still couldn’t get undercover,” ­Chandramohan said.

He now has to pay R5 000 for his ­insurance excess for the repair of the more than 60 dents and the broken tail light of his car.

Another motorist, Zodwa Silaule, said she is still waiting for her insurance ­company to assess the damage.

She said people stare at her car at ­traffic lights and sympathise with her.

“The top and the windscreen was ­badly damaged.

“When people see my car they feel bad and say sorry,” she said.

But for some who have started the ­repair process, the agony of it all ­surpasses material or financial concern and instead is focused more on the safety of their families.

One Signal Hill resident, who asked not to be named, said he was concerned about the way the Msunduzi Housing Association’s sub-contractors are ­repairing his roof.

“It is a slow process and the workers don’t even have helmets or protective gear. Also, they are just flinging broken tiles from the roof while kids are playing in the yard or on the road,” he claimed.

Owner of Sun Construction and Roofing Specialists Avesh Bharath said they are extremely busy at the moment as they are dealing with almost 40 houses in and around town.

“We have to work extra hours into the night to get it all done and people are still phoning in for quotes. Depending on the damage you are looking at over R25 000 on average for a repair to the roof,” Bharath said.

Greg Hayton, owner of Holley ­Harveytile, said the damage is the “worst he has ever seen”.

Hayton believes the damage is most extensive in the Clarendon area.

“We haven’t really got the go ahead from many insurance companies but there is a lot of work to do,” Hayton said.

The Msunduzi Housing Association redirected all queries to municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha was unable to comment before print deadline yesterday.

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