Grieving: Claudine's children, Khensani (18), Tsakani (21) and Katekani still cannot believe that their mother is gone. Photo: Ndivhuwo Musetha.

Collins Chabane residents hard hit by raging storms

 

The Vhembe District Municipality (VDM) geographical area has had no rain for some time now. Coupled with its financial woes, following its investment of more than R300 million with VBS, the municipality is failing to supply water to most of the villages in its four municipalities.

The residents have been crying for rain for a long time. Last Wednesday, rain did come but with devastating effects. Residents at villages under the new Collins Chabane municipality were dealt a severe blow when devastating storms wreaked havoc leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

The incident, which left more than 1 000 houses without roofs, trees uprooted, and electricity poles broken, happened on Wednesday evening.

At Bevula, a 100-year-old granny, Ms Modjadji Sithole, was killed when a wall fell on her during the storm, and the 47-year-old Ms Claudine Chauke of Makuleke was killed when she was hit by live electricity wires. She lost her life while on her way to collect her daughters, Khensani (18) and Katekani (13), from a neighbour’s house where they were playing.

According to an eyewitness, at around 18:00 she realized that her children were not at home.  She then ran along the street, so that she could bring them back home safely.  The children were coming back home via a shortcut. Unfortunately, an electricity pole fell on her and she was electrocuted, dying instantly. Her children found her lying in the street.

After the heavy winds and storms, the area looked like it had been hit by a tornado.

Eyewitness Mr Samson Hasani Baloyi of Makuleke said the storm started at around 18:00 on Wednesday evening. "We were in the house when a very strong wind struck and shook our houses. In a very short space, roofs were gone, and we had to squeeze ourselves in one room and wait until it was over.”

He added that by then it was raining heavily, and all their belongings were wet at that time. “Many residents suffered great losses as a result of this storm. We are now just busy trying to pick up the pieces and repairing the roofs,” he added.

The spokesperson for the VDM, Mr Matodzi Ralushai, said that the disaster management team was in the field, assessing the damage in the Collins Chabane Municipality. “We have, together with our sister departments SASSA and social development, managed to provide tents and food parcels for the affected at Makuleke, Makahlule, Hlungwani and other villages.”

Our correspondent Ndivhuwo Musetha reports that the executive mayor of Vhembe, Cllr Florence Radzilani, visited hundreds of families left homeless after their houses were destroyed by the storm.

When Radzilani visited the area on Thursday morning, almost every household was busy picking up the pieces and trying to restore the damage caused by the storm. Roofs were blown all over the village, while electricity poles were lying along the streets. 

Hosi Phahlela Maluleke of Makuleke said the incident had left almost his whole village homeless.  Radzilani visited the two families who had lost loved ones, delivering a message of condolences.

 

 

Ms Martha Masia, mother of the deceased Claudine Chauke, says she is devastated about her loss. Photo: Ndivhuwo Musetha.

Damaged houses at Makuleke, where severe storms wreaked havoc.

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Date:07 December 2018 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo

Elmon Tshikhudo

Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.

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