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Freak storm wreaks havoc in NC town

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Tents, food parcels and blankets delivered to Phokwane Local Municipality

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PAMPIERSTAD residents have been without electricity for the past six days following a freak storm that caused extensive damage to the town.

Two youths, aged 12 and 18, died after seeking shelter in Itireleng village and a wall collapsed on them on Saturday, December 12, while another two people were injured.

The spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Lerato Khuno, said yesterday that heavy rainfall caused extensive damage in Pampierstad on Saturday.

“Roofs were blown away and water caused damage to furniture and electrical appliances. Trees were uprooted and landed on top of houses and blocked access roads. Schools and crèches were also damaged. A crèche in Jan Kempdorp that houses 20 children was blown away,” said Khuno.

She added that Eskom had meanwhile restored the electricity and water supply was available to the communities of Phokwane.

“Frances Baard District Municipality will appoint a service provider to repair the shacks and RDP houses. Unfortunately, the housing policy does not cater for the repair of formal houses, which is a major challenge because the storm caused major damages.”

Khuno stated that 20 tents, as well as food parcels and blankets, were delivered to Phokwane Local Municipality for distribution.

“The two youths who passed away reside in the North West Province and our provincial government will provide funeral groceries to the bereaved families.”

Eskom spokesperson in the Northern Cape, Patricia Tsepane said rain and stormy weather resulted in partial and intermittent loss of supply to parts of Pampierstad and surrounding areas.

“Due to the infrastructural damage the estimated time for restoration is not yet known but will be communicated as work progresses,” said Tsepane.

She added that Eskom teams were working around the clock to restore the electricity supply.

“Eskom apologises for the inconvenience and urges those affected to be patient while supply is being restored. Electricity can be switched on without notice. Customers are therefore reminded to treat all electrical sockets and appliances as live and dangerous.”

The spokesperson for the Frances Baard District Municipality, Gerline Roman, stated that a disaster practitioner from the district municipality, together with Coghsta, assessed the situation in Pampierstad on Sunday.

“The affected families were provided with tents for temporary shelter. The district municipality has availed 20 tents so far and more can be provided if there is a need. Plans are under way to fix the damaged roofs of identified indigent households. We are in the process of an emergency appointment of a service provider to fix the roofs,” said Roman.

She added that shanties that were destroyed would be replaced as soon as possible. “We will be erecting new two- and three-bedroom shanties.”

Roman stated that they were co-ordinating with the district municipality to provide further relief where needed.

The spokesperson for Phokwane Municipality, Kgalalelo Letshabo, said municipal workers had erected the tents.

“The ward councillor obtained the names of 107 households that were affected by the storm in Pampierstad. Residents who were staying in the shacks lost everything in the storm and are being accommodated in the tents,” said Letshabo.

“If anyone is in need of further assistance they should contact the councillor so that they can be added to the database.”

She added that the mayor also visited the bereaved family in Itireleng village in the greater Taung area.

“Counselling services are being offered to children who were traumatised.”

The spokesperson for the Office of the Premier, Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams, added that Premier Zamani Saul had engaged with the MEC for Coghsta, Bentley Vass, who had deployed teams from provincial disaster management to work with the Frances Baard district team.

“The MEC committed to furnish the premier with a report once their assessments have been completed,” said Thomas-Abrahams.