Tree falls, crashes girl to death in storm

Hlolokgelo Malika's life was cut short when a tree fell on her during a storm, killing her instantly. /Mandla Khoza
Hlolokgelo Malika's life was cut short when a tree fell on her during a storm, killing her instantly. /Mandla Khoza

A Mpumalanga mother watched helplessly as her daughter was crushed by a tree during a storm that hit Emalahleni earlier this week.

Ntombi Selahle said she woke up after her shack was blown away on Tuesday.

Moments later, her daughter Hlolokgelo Malika, 13, was killed when a tree fell on her.

Selahle recalled the last moments with her daughter.

"No one deserve this. We went to sleep on Monday night as normal after returning from Pretoria, and we spoke very nicely and wished each other a good night.

"In the middle of the night, the storm started and Hlolokgelo was asleep in another room. I woke up to find myself sleeping outside and the rain was pouring.

"I rushed to check where she was sleeping and heard her screaming for help.

"A tree had fallen on her and she was trapped under it," said Selahle.

"I screamed for help while trying to remove the tree and when neighbours arrived, they tried to help. I had to watch my angel die."

She said Hlolokgelo, who was staying at a shelter, had visited her for the holidays and was ready to get back to school.

"I only had her [visiting] for the holidays... I don't know what to do; my heart is sore," said Selahle.

She said Hlolokgelo will be buried tomorrow in Pretoria where her family lives.

The department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs has warned members of the public to be cautious as more storms were expected.

"We would like to reiterate and warn our people that if there's stormy weather, they must stay away from things that might cause danger to them.

"Like when there's lightning they must stay away from trees and electric lines.

"If there is a storm those staying in low-lying areas must move..." said spokesperson George Mthethwa.

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