A HEAVY thunderstorm lashed Johannesburg and surrounding areas late on Monday afternoon, with damaging winds, heavy downpours and large hailstones causing flooding and havoc throughout the city.
There were fears for the safety of the residents of informal settlements in flash floods, and ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring said two people were injured when the heavy rain caused a ceiling to collapse at Cradlestone Mall in the Krugersdorp area of the West Rand.
Paramedics found that part of the ceiling had fallen on the injured people, who sustained minor to moderate injuries and were transported to hospital. No serious or fatal injury was recorded at the scene.
“Security members from the mall evacuated the area while paramedics treated the two patients,” Meiring said.
On the East Rand, Ekurhuleni Metro Police spokesperson Kobeli Mokheseng said the Gillooly’s interchange near Bedfordview and the N3 in Linksfield were flooded and heavily affected. The R21 freeway in Olifantsfontein and the R24 in Edenvale were also hit.
Mokheseng said traffic lights in the area were out due to a substation explosion in Jet Park.
“The fire station caught fire," Mokheseng said. "We are still not sure if it was because of the lightning or the rain that caused it.”
Joburg Metro Police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said the M1 to Braamfontein in the Joburg CBD, the N3, N12 and N1 were all badly affected by the storm and flooding.
“Motorists are advised to drive with extra precaution and have their headlights on at all times. There is so much water on the roads it looks like floods,” Minnaar said.
The South African Weather Service said the storm had weakened and had moved over Mpumalanga, while there were still severe thunderstorms raging in parts of Limpopo.
In KwaZulu-Natal, Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said disaster teams had been placed on alert and were ready to respond should the need arise.
“We are calling for people to exercise extra caution because there is the possibility of localised flooding.
People must minimise their movements and must not take chances,” Mabaso said.
He said there had been an increase in road accidents due to the wet weather.
“We urge motorists to be extra careful and we have warned people in informal settlements as well.”
Mabaso urged people not to try to cross low-lying areas.