Heavy floods kill four people

Four people died and a teenager was missing because of flooding caused by incessant rains in large parts of the country, police said on Tuesday.

The bodies of a woman and her six-month-old baby boy were found on Tuesday after their home was washed away by overnight floods in Tembisa’s Phomolong informal settlement, east of Johannesburg.

Ekurhuleni municipal spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said the mother and child were trapped in their house when flash floods hit on Monday night.

In the latest incident, a teenager was swept off a bridge in Taung in North West, Superintendent Lesego Metsi said.

By 4pm, police were still searching for him.

“We cannot presume him dead yet because the search is continuing,” he said.

Earlier in the day, a car was swept away by floods in the same area but nobody was hurt.

In Kgomotso, three buses were carried away by rising water levels. One was carrying schoolchildren.

“With the help of community members, police managed to help people off the buses,” Metsi said.

Three people trying to cross the Vaal River in a boat got into difficulty, said police.

The boat capsized and the trio were reported missing.

By 4pm, Metsi confirmed that all three were found but that only two survived.

Meanwhile, a man died while three children were missing presumed dead after a vehicle was trapped in a flooded subway in the Northern Cape.

“A Toyota Venture was busy delivering schoolchildren and they went through a subway that was filled with water,” Superintendent Mashay Gamieldien said.

The subway, which is a road running underneath a railway line, in De Aar, was flooded after a cloudburst at about 4.30pm on Monday, she said.

Rescue workers managed to free the driver but he died on the way to hospital.

“Just before he died, he told emergency workers there were still three children in the car,” said Gamieldien. “They retrieved the vehicle at about 9.30pm last night [Monday] but there were no bodies in the vehicle.

“We are hoping that after they drained the water they get the bodies. The water is between 10m and 12m high,” she said.

In Gauteng, several roads in Johannesburg were flooded on Tuesday, while the Benoni Lake, east of the city, was overflowing.

But South African Weather Services forecaster Puseletso Mofokeng said a rainy January was nothing unusual.

Mofokeng said the rain was expected to continue on Wednesday. The current wet weather was caused by a low pressure system over northern Namibia.

“But by Thursday, I think we will see mainly afternoon thunderstorms,” he said, referring to the central and eastern provinces.

The incidents of flooding were often more related to the specific areas being prone to flooding than to particularly heavy rainfall, he added. — Sapa

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