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Cape winter storm causes two deaths, 57 families evacuated

The winter storm that made landfall on Wednesday morning in the Southern Cape caused the death of two people and led to 57 families having to leave their homes. 

Accompanied by heavy rainfall, strong winds and cold temperatures, the storm has, since Wednesday, moved further inland reaching the Cape Winelands.

Two people were killed in Bonnievale in the Cape Winelands District after their vehicle capsized and was trapped in floodwater on Wednesday night. James-Brent Styan, the spokesperson for the Western Cape department of local government, environmental affairs and development planning, confirmed that the police are investigating the accident. 

In a separate incident, a bakkie was successfully towed out after it was caught in flood water. Its driver escaped and children, who were reportedly trapped under a bridge, were found safe. 

Heavy rainfalls and strong wind caused severe flooding in Struisbaai and Cape Agulhas on Wednesday.

Rescue teams assisted residents to evacuate homes that were flooded. Struisbaai recorded 115mm of rainfall on Wednesday alone. According to the Cape Agulhas disaster officer, Millison Saptou, 57 families had to move when their homes were flooded. Some families are being housed by residents or at the two municipal caravan parks. 

On Thursday morning, both the Swellendam and the Stormsvlei roads connectingwith the N2 were closed because of flooding. 

Employees from the state-owned Denel Overberg Test Range were sent home on Wednesday as a precautionary measure in case the Karsriver on the R316 overflowed, cutting off employees from their nearby hometowns. 

The South African Weather Service said widespread rain and strong winds are expected to continue across large parts of the Western Cape, including Cape Town, the Cape Winelands districts, and the Hessequa municipality throughout Thursday.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

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