The Guard

The Truth On Board

3 drown in flooding, schooling suspended

By Masilo Malakwane

QWA QWA – At least three people have lost their lives after severe thunderstorms caused flooding in parts of Maluti-A-Phofung Local municipality over the weekend.

Maluti -A- Phofung Fire and Rescue Services reported on Saturday, two children had drowned in separate incidents. In Bluegumbosch, a child was reported to have been swimming in a river nearby Seotlong. In Pereng, Makwane, a 13-year old girl drowned while crossing the river with her father. In Senyamo, Boiketlo village, a 42-year old male also drowned in a nearby river due to floods.

Executive mayor Gilbert Mokotso has since conveyed his condolences to the three affected families, describing the incidents as ‘regrettable’.

“It pains us that three lives were lost in Qwaqwa. We send our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. These flash floods are receiving due attention from the municipality. The Joint Operations Centre (JOC) made up of different stakeholders like the SAPS, Free State Medical Emergency Services, Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipality’s disaster management, departments of social development, roads and public works, has already been activated in response to this rains.”

According to the South African Weather Services, the severe weather is likely to continue in Maluti-A-Phofung municipality until March.

Gogo Tebello outside her house.

Nkgono Tebello Mokiri lives in a low lying area in Clubview. The 70-year old oldie told The Guard that her house faces flooding if the rains continue. She asks for government to relocate her to save her family from being swept away by the heavy floods. “I love my place, but at a time like this it puts my life in serious danger,” she said.  

Another jittery resident Stuurman Mokoena of Mandela Park, described the heavy thunderstorms as ‘worrisome’. “It will be dangerous for school children to cross the river to Phuthaditjhaba tomorrow,” said Mokoena.

Meanwhile, the provincial department of education has since issued a statement suspending schooling in QwaQwa on Monday this week. MEC Tate Makgoe said the department took this decision to protect learners, teachers and non-teaching personnel in schools.

“Together with other stakeholders we will assess the situation and accordingly advise schools in QwaQwa whether we will continue with the suspension of schooling or not,” said Makgoe.

Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipality was not immediately available to comment on the extent of the damage caused by the thunderstorms.