Man dies in his sleep as violent storm wreaks havoc

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Robert Mashatola of Mohlabaneng village in Limpopo was crushed to death in his sleep when his mud hut collapsed on him yesterday.

At least 123 more villagers were injured when their houses gave in during a violent storm early yesterday.

Mashatola's house collapsed just after midnight. Yesterday morning the heavy rains were still pounding the land of the Rain Queen in Bolobedu.

Groceries, clothes and furniture were washed away by the storm that left more than 300 houses in ruins and about 1500 people hungry and homeless.

The Greater Letaba municipality and Mopani district businessman Teddy Seale donated tents, food parcels, blankets and clothes to the affected families.

Seale also donated R5000 to the dead man's family to help with funeral arrangements.

Community halls, schools and churches have been earmarked to accommodate families who did not receive tents.

The affected villages are Jamela, Mohlabaneng, Phaphadi and Shawela.

Greater Letaba mayor Joshua Matlou said: "Mashalola was sleeping alone in his home when the wall fell on top of him. A few minutes later, many other houses followed suit - leaving their occupants with serious injuries."

Matlou pleaded with local businessmen and the department of housing to assist the affected families.

Police spokesman Freddy Maenetja said they had opened an inquest docket and that investigations were continuing.