South Africa

Seshego residents rally to rebuild after devastating storm

Victims of the destructive storm that hit Seshego in Limpopo scrambled to repair and rebuild their homes on Thursday.

“There were long lines outside the hardware stores as people were buying tiling for their roofs and glass for their windows to be replaced,” said a Seshego Zone 4 resident who asked to remain anonymous.

“Most people are trying to work on rebuilding their homes quickly in case the storms return again this evening. People were affected differently ... Some more than others,” he added.

As he spoke to TimesLIVE, hammering could be heard in the background. A group of people were helping an elderly woman repair her roof.

Mother of two Duduetsang Mphahlele said she and her two children spent the night in their car after the roof of their house was damaged by heavy rain on Wednesday.

“It was too dangerous to drive out and luckily, the garage was not affected. We went out and slept in the car, hoping that the storm would pass. Today, I have got people to fix my roof but we will sleep at my mother’s, just in case,” she added.

Images of huge hailstones were shared on social media, with some likening them to golf balls.

Local companies rallied to help people whose property and vehicles were battered by the storm.

The House of Aluminium put out a call via its social media pages, saying the company was willing to assist up to 100 families replace broken glass panes free of charge. 

Company owner Victor Mothemela said the business had received about 2,000 appeals for assistance.

“From about 8am today, we started assisting people. I dispatched 40 of my employees and eight vehicles. Earlier today, they had already gone to 93 houses and by 5pm, we should have covered 200,” said Mothemela. 

He said they were providing assistance to mostly the elderly, child-headed households and premises where almost all the windows had been destroyed. 

The Polokwane municipality said some people affected by the storm had queued to register for temporary shelter.

On Wednesday night, the municipality had opened the doors of the Ngwako Ramatlhodi hall to residents who were left displaced. Municipal spokesperson Thipa Selala said about 44 families were housed at a hall on Wednesday evening but the number could increase by Thursday night.

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