Storms, lightning leave death trail

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Five people were killed and another one seriously injured after they were struck by lightning during the torrential rains that wreaked havoc in different parts of Limpopo at the weekend.

The area hard-hit by the lighting was Tshamutumbu in the Vhembe district where three men believed to be Zimbabweans died after they were knocked down by a single lightning strike.

Their bodies were discovered on Saturday morning by neighbours who had gone to the house to assess the damage caused by the rain.

Two people were also reportedly killed by lightning in Mokopane and Madiera village near Lenyenye during the heavy rains. A 27-year-old man was also treated for shock at Mokopane Hospital on Saturday morning after he was hit by lightning.

Meanwhile, police have opened an inquest docket following the death of two minor children who drowned in the Mathabatha River in Lebowakgomo on Saturday.

Police spokesman in Limpopo Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said the two, aged 10 and 11, were swimming in the river when they drowned. Their bodies were later discovered by a passer-by who notified the police.

In a separate incident, a six-year-old boy in Giyani drowned while swimming in a river, bringing to eight the number of children killed at the weekend either by water or lightning.

Other areas hit by the rains are the greater Ba-Phalaborwa, greater Tzaneen and the Musina area where the rains caused extensive damage to housing.

Roads leading to town in the Bolobedu area had been washed away by the heavy storms while the Ba-Phalaborwa area near the Kruger National Park has enjoyed light, but continuous rains.

Sixty houses were blown away by a vicious storm last week in the area. The South African Weather Bureau said yesterday rains would continue to fall in Limpopo until March next year.