A 10-year-old boy drowned on Thursday after being swept away by water while trying to cross a low-lying bridge in KwaMpumuza, Pietermaritzburg.
According to KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Xolani Shange was one of two people that were swept away. The second person survived and is currently receiving medical attention.
Hlomuka has sent condolences to the Shange family.
“We urge residents to stay indoors and if caught in a thunderstorm, they must seek shelter in a building and stay as far away as possible from trees, telephone lines and power lines. Residents are also warned to avoid travelling on bridges and roads in low-lying areas as these are susceptible to flooding,” said Hlomuka.
He said the storm uprooted trees, flooded roads and damaged both public and private property in several municipalities. A team of disaster management staff has been dispatched to assess the extent of the damage in Maphumulo, Msunduzi and uMngeni where it is believed the most severe storms took place.
Hlomuka has warned residents to be vigilant of severe thunderstorms expected on Friday in the districts of uThukela, Harry Gwala, Amajuba, uMgungundlovu and Ugu. The weather warning from the South African Weather Service indicates that some of the thunderstorms are expected to become severe and will be accompanied by heavy downpours, strong damaging winds, hail and excessive lightning.
He also appealed to residents to closely monitor the weather conditions which pose a serious risk of localised flooding in low-lying areas and areas where the ground is already saturated because of previous rains.