Tornado: It was raining stones

2011-10-04 08:37

Johannesburg - Residents of Duduza outside Nigel on the East Rand have spoken about the devastation in their area after a tornado struck on Sunday evening.

“The Lord was merciful for taking only one child. You can build houses, but not lives,” said Solpha Mkhtshkwa, whose son Xolani, 8, died when a wall fell on top of him.

 “I don’t know where I will sleep tonight. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how I’m supposed to carry on, we had just finished building the house and moved in and now my child is dead,” she said as she sat on a chair in front of her ruined house.

Paramedics took her youngest son, Fanafuthi, 7, to be examined at a clinic on Monday afternoon after he was also hit on the head by a stone or piece of wood.


Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele said the tornado hit at 17:29 and by 17:32 it was all over.

The tornado devastated an area about 200 metres wide and 2km long.

Trees were stripped bare in the veld with only the trunk and a few branches remaining.

"It rained stones, I sat in the rain all night, too scared they would steal my stuff,” said Charles Molefe, 52, on Monday. He had been in his living room watching TV when the tornado hit the area at about 17:30.

“The TV was blinking continuously and my wife went to look at what was happening outside. The next moment she was screaming and shouting about things flying through the air. It literally rained stones. Some of them fell on the roof. It was terrible.

“Sheets of corrugated iron flew through the air. The next moment there was the most terrible noise when the huge street light from across the road fell over and hit the house. I thought it was the end. After a few minutes it was dead quiet and then you just heard how everyone was screaming,” said Molefe.

He spent the rest of the night under the remaining corrugated iron sheets of his house, standing guard, while his wife Francina slept at the neighbours.

"At around 03:00 or 04:00 I found a group trying to steal my cement. Fortunately the police were here and they arrested the six and took them away,” he said.

166 injured

By Monday afternoon it was estimated that 558 houses had been completely ruined or very seriously damaged and that 2 790 people had been directly affected. A total of 166 people were treated and taken to surrounding hospitals.

Police officials drove through the area on Monday afternoon, telling people over loudspeakers to go to the community centre to report homes that had been damaged or if they needed help.

Jeanie Pretorius said her domestic worker Lily Madonsela called her at about 04:00 on Monday morning to tell her her whole house had been wrecked.

“We decided to come fetch her, you can’t just leave her here. Her whole house is gone. She is friends with the woman whose child died and she also wants to help.

“When she called, I couldn’t really understand what she was talking about. She kept saying a ‘snake’ had come from the dam and wrecked the whole place. And that the snake went from the one dam to the other,” she said on Monday afternoon while she waited for Lily to gather her things to come and stay with them until she again had a place to stay in Duduza.

- Were you affected? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos

  • Bardy - 2011-10-04 08:39

    The end is near!!!

      Matt :-) - 2011-10-04 08:40

      Is that a promise?

      Jan - 2011-10-04 08:48

      Very exhausting stuff this end of world business…. I hear its happening again end of October some time and then again in 2012 PHEEEW!!

      Matt :-) - 2011-10-04 08:52

      With all the end-of-world predictions, I do wonder what will happen in 2013 - all doomsday predictions would've come and gone by then! Nobody knows the day...

      MTRJ - 2011-10-04 09:35

      @White man - Such an idiotic comment from you! Must reflect your IQ. Black people were affected because the tornado struck in a rural area. As the weather service says, tornado's are common, but they only get noticed when they hit a populated place. Come on man. No need for such racist comments!

      O-Kay - 2011-10-04 09:40

      What the end of the tornado?? So duck dam it! On a serious note though... whoever would have thought it in SA. Apparently it's common (or so news 24 says) but tornados in SA are considerate and normally happen in unpopulated areas. :):):)

      Buic Unix - 2011-10-04 09:48

      Its a contrived tornado, it will be used to push yet another agenda by the masters.

      chat-chat - 2011-10-04 10:40

      Amazing the rubbish people write. Tornadoes occur everywhere - they are a result of adjacent high & low pressure conditions causing winds to spiral and funnel. They have always occured, news is just spread instantaneously now. We narrowly missed being caught in the Joplin, USA, tornado, it was terrifying. These poor people have lost the little they had. In the USA relief funds were established and the nation rallied to help. I hope we do the same here and restore some pride in ourselves by showing that we do care.

  • muttlet - 2011-10-04 09:09

    Funny the difference in cultures. In Japan after the earthquake and Tsunami, residents of the affected areas lent a helping hand towards their neighbours. Here, their first though is what I can steal. It goes to the base morality of a culture. Shame!

  • YasButIDunno - 2011-10-04 09:19

    I do't think it was a tornado, if it was raining stones it must have been an ANCYL convention.

      Matt :-) - 2011-10-04 11:23

      Could be worse - in JHB on Saturday it was raining men ;-)

  • hellomoto - 2011-10-04 09:23

    you know what disgusts me, is reading comments like what you people have been writing. Instead of helping you pump your mouth talking crap! PEOPLE OPEN YOUR EYES THIS IS A DISASTER PEOPLE HAVE DIES PEOPLE HAVE LOST EVERY THEY OWNED! LETS SEE WHAT OUR GOVT AND THE PEOPLE OF SA DO NOW FOR THESE PEOPLE.because when there are disasters in our countrie... they receive allot of help

      Matt :-) - 2011-10-04 09:34

      Weird thing is that it's a natural disaster but when I was reading the news overseas (BBC, Daily Mail), I didn't see it mentioned once. Seems they only care about the disasters the media want them to care about... I did get annoyed though with Ekurhuleni Municipality calling for donations. Sure, it's bad what's happened and I sympathise, I hope the government actually do something for these people for once... but Ekurhuleni calling for donations - we already give them so much money and get near-zero service in return...

      semaj - 2011-10-04 09:43

      Having lived through a tornado in my youth, I know what happens. In our case, the Indian population of the town opened up their hearts, shops and charity to those affected and the end result was nothing short of a miracle.

  • tripwire - 2011-10-04 09:35

    Climate change

      mirza77 - 2011-10-05 11:55

      shouldn't be corrupt semaj...hey, are you nancy or rich?? matt mann or mcsweetie? wheres erin???

  • Gina - 2011-10-04 09:36

    Is this not a good reason for our government to start building houses for our people in this township. Let it stand as a monument to their so called struggle for freedom. These people need good homes for their children and this might just be the right time to do it, show the people that the government cares.

  • Annie - 2011-10-04 09:55

    were these the RDP houses that collapsed? and the shacks stayed up, as did the apartheid-built houses... go figure!

      emile.eley - 2011-10-04 11:19

      Now is not the time Annie. Show some compassion, for it is this that separates us from animals. Remember there but for the grace of God go I.

  • Soothsayer - 2011-10-04 09:58

    "She kept saying a ‘snake’ had come from the dam and wrecked the whole place. And that the snake went from the one dam to the other." I am lost,can anyone elaborate on this one???

      Enigma - 2011-10-04 10:24

      She was probably confused and shocked with this horrific experience. Sometimes it's these urban legends / tales that people tend to believe.

      Syd - 2011-10-04 10:34

      A tornado looks a snake twisting around in the sky. Use your imagination. The simple folk do and their descriptions are usually more graphic.

      Enigma - 2011-10-04 11:00

      Syd sorry my friend but I don't understand your comment, can you please read what you wrote and rephrase or rewrite it because it really doesn't make sense.

      Zodwa - 2011-10-04 11:53

      LOL @ Soothsayer. The poor lady was imagining this snake.

      Razor - 2011-10-04 14:35

      Enigma, read again,think and read again, it makes sense

  • Levett - 2011-10-04 10:12

    News24 deletes certain posts ... thank you for "freedom of speech" on your website

      Levett - 2011-10-04 10:34

      Yeah Margie ... they probably just another spineless puppy in SA

      Matt :-) - 2011-10-04 11:23

      Media24 is so far up the ANC's a**e that if they went any further, they'd come out of their mouth

  • Wesley Schroeder - 2011-10-04 10:24

    In South Africa, "We Steal in the face of Danger"

  • sbonelo.s.ngwenya - 2011-10-04 11:19

    This is really sad :-( condolences to those who lost the little boy.we should name that tornado "matlakala"!

  • Annie - 2011-10-04 12:10

    emile.eley - sure of course i do feel sorry for them, it is always the poorest that seem to lose everything. would be nice to hear that some of our newly-uber wealthy are contributing to help them.

      mirza77 - 2011-10-05 12:01

      hey annie, how are your teeth today? oh and betty, since you keep up the threats and harassing...the majors and caps are going out soon...the whole list with back up material from ruddy juice man in the forest, does your lady know yet? how bout you burberry model? MMisk? Samantha S

  • SAHomeGrown - 2011-10-04 13:28

    This is very sad. Some of these people lost everything. I don't know about you, but I would be screwed if a tornado decided to touch down in the southern suburbs. I wouldn't have the first clue of what to do!

      angiecarr101 - 2011-10-04 13:49

      well..they say you should lay in your bath and cover your self with a mattress or something as the most deaths in tornadoes are caused by falling objects. Don't know if its true but i was searching for tornado warnings in jhb when i came across "storm chasers SA" and they say you should do that.

      Peter Potgieter - 2011-10-04 15:00

      When disaster strikes be it earth quake or Tornado, you need to put yourself in an area that forms a triangle. eg. next to a desk (not under) if the bed is cm's from the wall put yourself between the bed and the wall. In many cases in the USA lying next to a table or kitchen unit etc you have agreater chance of surviving. When a roof or wall collapses there is a triangel in all ruins if you in a triangle you will survive :)

  • Winsome - 2011-10-04 14:06

    Shame man, these poor people - losing their homes like this. I know how I would feel. There are some really callous comments coming from 24 News readers.

  • mike.ndlovu - 2011-10-04 15:13

    Aren't our meteorologist/weather experts supposed to predict such events and warn vulnerable areas/regions. How safe are we in this country when coming to natural disasters?

  • corro51 - 2011-10-04 16:00

    This is old news. It rained stones in most of the townships throughout the 80's and early 90's.

  • Woofix - 2011-10-05 00:04

    A Tornado experience must be a horrific experience! Hopefully i will never expierence that. But what upsets me more than this nature disaster is the fact that "normal residence" behave like hyenas stealing from the slaughtered houses and from people in agony. This is absolute beyond any comment!

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