KZN mourns its dead after killer week

eThekwini municipal manager Sipho Nzuza, left, then-eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, centre, and Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube at a press briefing on Thursday evening, 25 April 2019. Picture: Cogta.

Sixty-seven of the deaths were as a result of the fierce storm on Monday night, 13 people died in a church wall collapse and the rest died in Easter traffic.

KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) said on Thursday that 87 people had been killed in the past week, a combined result of Monday’s storm, road deaths over the Easter weekend and the collapse of a wall at a church.

“It has been a very sad week for our province, a total of 87 people were killed as a result of accidents on the road during Easter, the church wall collapse and the storms,” said Nomusa Dube-Ncube, adding that KwaZulu-Natal was in mourning.

She was speaking at a press briefing at the Coastlands Hotel in Musgrave, Durban, and was joined by eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede and city manager Sipho Nzuza.

Sixty-seven of the 85 deaths were as a result of the fierce storm that swept through the province on Monday night and continued into Tuesday morning. Recovery efforts were ongoing, said Dube-Ncube, particularly in the Inanda and uMlazi areas.

Teams had been dispatched to quantify the damage, she said, and as yet there was no accurate figure of the financial cost to the province.

The provincial Cabinet would be meeting on Friday to make the “necessary declarations”, said Dube-Ncube.

Various government departments were working together to provide social relief to those who had been displaced. That number stood at about 1,000, President Cyril Ramaphosa said when he visited the province on Wednesday.

The department of social development had started delivering food parcels and school uniforms to the affected and feeding schemes had been established. Eleven community halls were being utilised to house the displaced.

The finalisation of funeral arrangements was also under way, said Dube-Ncube, and temporary IDs would be issued to those who lost their homes and household contents in the downpour, which resulted in several mudslides that claimed multiple lives in some areas.

eThekwini metro had set up a dedicated support desk for the bereaved families – including a hotline – and three mortuaries in and around the city had been dedicated to the victims of the storm.

The hotline can be contacted on 031 367 0094.

Gumede said she had “no doubts” that the unaccounted for would be found, either by the city’s services or ward councillors, who had been assisting in their immediate areas.

A memorial service was held on Thursday morning for the 12 female congregants and a 10-year-old boy who died when a wall at the Pentecostal Holiness Church in the Empangeni area collapsed. Close on 1,000 mourners attended the memorial. The funerals are set to take place over the weekend.

African News Agency (ANA)

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

today in print