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A hailstorm accompanied by heavy winds, lightning and thunder caused havoc in Ngome, Umsinga, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands on Wednesday night.
One person and 17 goats were killed in two separate incidents. The dead woman was struck by lightning in a nearby homestead. Her name has not been released.
Local headman Sukayithathe Zuma said the goats, belonging to another Zuma family, burnt to death after running into a rondavel house for shelter.
"As it started thundering heavily with lightning, the goats broke down the kraal and ran into the house. While they were still inside, lightning struck the house, which burnt to ashes with the goats cramped inside," said Zuma.
He said the family members were fortunately not in the house.
In another homestead, a woman died after she was also struck by lightning. "At this stage, we are still trying to check with the family how it happened, but she was in her early 20s."
Mayor Petros Ngubane expressed his condolences to the affected families. He urged locals to "cover all glass materials in their homes because that's what attracts lightening".
He said a disaster team would go out to assess the damage caused and would meet to discuss the kind of assistance they would give to the affected families.
"Unfortunately, there's very little one can do because it's a natural disaster. But we will lend a hand where necessary," said Ngubane.