Floods wreak havoc in Gauteng

Helicopters rescued guests and staff members from the flooded Centurion Lake Hotel yesterday.
Helicopters rescued guests and staff members from the flooded Centurion Lake Hotel yesterday.

A Mamelodi West woman lost everything when her informal settlement was hit by flash floods yesterday. Her three-room shack was swept away.

Kate Raboroko and her two children were left homeless after only managing to escape their flooded shack at the Eerste Fabrieke informal settlement with just the clothes they were wearing.

"My shack was situated next to the river. I lost all my belongings, including clothes, ID book and birth certificates of my two kids," Raboroko said.

Raboroko is one of more than 700 people whose shacks in Mamelodi West were either flooded or swept away after the raging Moretele River, on whose floodplain the sprawling township has been established, burst its banks.

Raboroko and her two children, aged seven and 10, spent the night at a local community hall.

"I could not save anything because there was just no time... I was more worried about the safety of my kids."

Raboroko said she only realised at 7am yesterday that the river's banks had burst and water was rushing to their shacks.

"I saw water coming inside my shack and I immediately took my kids and ran to safety."

Some of the residents were rescued from their rooftops after trying to escape the rising waters.

Furniture and home appliances such as TV sets were seen floating on the water, as the floods flushed them out of homes.

Other affected parts of Tshwane included Centurion and Capital Park, where several roads leading to low-lying bridges were closed. At the Hotel Centurion Lake, guests and staff were airlifted to safety as the facility near the bank of Hennops River was surrounded by flood waters.

DA ward councillor Gert Visser said disaster management and emergency services were assigned to the area since 3am yesterday.

"The water pressure from the floods caused a slight movement to the hotel building and the only way people could get out was by helicopter," said Visser.

He said 71 guests were counted before the evacuations took place, making it 80 with staff members.

The City of Tshwane said no injuries were reported and there were no reported cases of people missing so far.

The city's disaster management team was on the ground assisting those needing to be evacuated. The city urged those that needed help to call the city's emergency toll-free number: 107.

Nana Radebe of the Johannesburg Emergency Services said Ivory Park was also affected by the unrelenting thunder showers.

"Water levels in that area have subsided. Five houses were flooded while an informal dwelling close to the river bank was swept away," Radebe said.

In Tembisa, at the Themba Khoza informal settlement, floods left shack dwellers stranded. A man-made bridge dividing two of the informal settlement's sections was under water.

Resident John Chauke said: "We have not seen so much water in the area in a long time, houses have been swept away and we fear for our lives."

Maria Ledwaba, who has been living in the informal settlement for nine years, said she feared for the lives of those who live in the river banks. "We are in low-lying areas, unfortunately, we are at risk of losing everything... even our lives." - Additional Reporting by Tankiso Makhetha

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