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By unknown | Feb 21, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletshe

A pregnant woman died yesterday morning when her RDP house collapsed in Amaotana, north of Durban.

Sizakele Mkhize, who was five-months pregnant, lived in the house with her child and partner.

Heavy rains, accompanied by thunder and lightening, caused havoc in many areas in and around Durban. In KwaMashu, Bhambayi and Inanda, people were forced to vacate their flooded homes.

Mkhize, 36, originally from Ntaphuka in Ndwedwe, her 9-year-old child Londeka and partner Robert Mthiyane were sleeping when the tragedy took place.

When Sowetan visited the couple's home in the early hours of yesterday morning, neighbours were trying to get to grips with the calamity. Some residents wept openly.

Mthiyane said he was fast asleep when his house collapsed.

"I was in a deep sleep, but I heard a noise and I woke up. I noticed that the wall had cracked and minutes later, I saw a crying child [Londeka] running out of the house," said Mthiyane.

He said he jumped out of bed when Mkhize started shouting that the house was collapsing.

Mthiyane said: "I still don't understand how it happened, or how the two of us survived.

"When she called for help, her lower body was already covered in sand. I tried to rescue her, but she told me to stay back, and minutes later the wall fell on her.

"It was the most horrible death and I don't know how I am going to ever forget it," Mthiyane said, holding back the tears.

Mthiyane, who works for the eThekwini municipality, said he had planned to pay ilobolo in August for Mkhize.

He said: "I wish I had also died. I used so much money renovating this house and now look at it.

"What am I going to tell her child when she asks me about her mother? And what about my unborn baby who also died? Mthiyane asked.

Emergency-rescue workers struggled for hours to retrieve Mkhize's body.

When Mkhize's family arrived, her sister Nonhlanhla said they were all shocked at how she died.

"As a family, we still don't know how to accept her death.

"She called us last night enquiring about our ailing sister. That was the last time we heard her voice.

"I don't know how to tell the sad news to our mother who is ill," said Nonhlanhla.

Community worker Zanele Dlamini said that they had held a meeting about the housing project a day before the incident.

"The meeting was between the councillor, representatives of the eThekwini housing department and us. eThekwini wanted to officially hand over the project to the community.

"But now it will have to be delayed," said Dlamini.

Local councillor Mthunzi Dlamini said it was too early to say why the house collapsed, though they suspect that blocked sewerage and drainage pipes had burst and shaken the foundations of the house.

He said the project was started in 2002.

"As a ward, we are very concerned about what happened. We have arranged to move occupants of the other three houses next to the fallen one to a nearby area."

Dlamini said Mthiyane has been allocated another house.


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