Deadly KZN thunderstorms expected to continue on Friday

A 20-year-old matriculant died after being struck by lightning in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday. Lightning claimed the life of a second person in the province the following day.
A 20-year-old matriculant died after being struck by lightning in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday. Lightning claimed the life of a second person in the province the following day.
Image: 123rf.com/Richard Valdez

Lightning has claimed the lives of two people in KwaZulu-Natal - including a matriculant on Christmas Day. 

The provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) said Msawenkosi Sizwe Zulu, 20, was struck by lightning on Wednesday while he was on his way home from a traditional music festival.

Zulu had recently written his matric exams at Mhloluthini High School in the Ulundi local municipality.

Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka sent his condolences to Zulu's family, as well as to a family in the Msinga local municipality, who lost a loved one as a result of a lightning strike on Thursday.

"As a department, we are really saddened by this tragic loss of life that has taken place as a result of the ongoing bad weather conditions. Our teams are working with the local authorities to provide the necessary support to the affected families," said Hlomuka.

The department responded to a number of incidents across the province:

  • in Mzokhulayo in the Ndwendwe local municipality, 30 houses were damaged by strong winds and one person was hospitalised after being struck by lightning;
  • in Msinga, over 54 houses were damaged by thunderstorms; and
  • in the uMzimkhulu local municipality in the Harry Gwala district, 308 houses were damaged.

“The incidents that we have experienced over the past three days have been heartbreaking. We are working hard to ensure that those that are affected get help as soon as possible,” said Hlomuka.

"We are also working with our sister departments in the province, which include human settlements and social development, to ensure that sustainable, long-term assistance is provided to the affected families, who now have to rebuild their lives."

Meanwhile, the department has also received a weather warning from the SA Weather Service (Saws) for the possibility of severe thunderstorms hitting parts of uThukela, uMgungundlovu, uMzinyathi, Amajuba, Zululand, uMkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo, Ilembe and Ethekwini on Friday. 

Hlomuka urged residents in the province to exercise extreme caution as these thunderstorms could have a serious impact. “We are appealing to residents to ... stay up to date on the weather reports,” he said.  

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