FOUR BROTHERS KILLED AS LIGHTNING HITs HOME

FAMILY CALAMITY: Relatives and neighbours mourn the tragic death of the four Ngcobo brothers, who were killed by lightning. 04/01/2009. © Sowetan. Pic. Thuli Dlamini
FAMILY CALAMITY: Relatives and neighbours mourn the tragic death of the four Ngcobo brothers, who were killed by lightning. 04/01/2009. © Sowetan. Pic. Thuli Dlamini

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Four more people were confirmed dead after their car was swept away during a thunderstorm that wreaked havoc in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend, authorities said yesterday.

Lennox Mabaso, spokesman for the KZN local government ministry, said the four were going to a wedding when their car was swept away in KwaMashu, Durban.

This brings the total number of people killed during the storm to 13 after the body of an unidentified person was found under the debris in Dalton yesterday.

As mopping up operations continued yesterday, the Ngcobo family from Ndwedwe, north of Durban, started making arrangements for a mass funeral for the brothers at the weekend.

Bhekinkosi Ngcobo, 48, Ntendelezi Ngcobo, 46, Bonginkosi Ngcobo, 42, and Muziwokufika Ngcobo, 36, were all killed when lightning struck their home on Saturday night.

Nine other relatives were injured, two of whom are still in Montobello Hospital. Another victim from Ndwedwe, Kwazikwakhe Khuluse, 42, will also be buried this weekend.

When Sowetan visited the Ngcobo family yesterday relatives - some still heavily bandaged - and neighbours had gathered in the rondavel where the lightning had struck.

An emotional Victor Ngcobo said they were "all devastated and recounted how their lives were changed in only seconds.

He said the storm struck just hours after the family had celebrated a traditional feast .

"We slaughtered four goats to appease our ancestors on Saturday. Relatives and neighbours had all gathered to drink and eat. Around 6.30pm, heavy rains accompanied by a hail storm started but we saw no harm."

He said the gathering became startled when they heard a woman's screams. "She said the wind had blown away corrugated iron off one of the rondavels. Moments later, we heard a big bang and four of my brothers were struck dead," he said.

He said Muziwokufika leaves behind a wife and five young children. Bhekinkosi is survived by a child and a pregnant wife.

Meshack Hadebe, the MEC for social development, visited the devastated family. He said his department would cover all the funeral costs.

"We will also provide food parcels, school uniforms and pay school fees for the children. We will bring in psychologists to help them deal with the trauma."

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