The City of Ekurhuleni has dispersed its metro police‚ safety officers and emergency personnel in response to the tornado which battered the country’s manufacturing hub on Tuesday afternoon.
Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesperson Zweli Dlamini confirmed that the city is busy sending various teams to parts of the city hit by the tornado.
“The metro police‚ disaster management and emergency service all of them are on the ground right now basically dealing with the issues as they emanate from each of the areas. As we speak with you‚ the northern part of Ekurhuleni has been the most hit now. This cover areas such Kempton Park‚ Tembisa and surrounding areas. We have already received the information about the damage of the mall in Tembisa.
“We’ve dispersed teams to go an inspect what has happened there to determine whether it necessitates us declaring any state of disaster or whether to activate facilities where we may need to move people when there is a need‚” Dlamini said.
Pictures and videos of the havoc wreaked by the tornado are already being shared on Twitter and Facebook.
An eyewitness at Phumulani Mall which was struck by the tornado said she thought the mall was being attacked by robbers.
Vuyelwa Michelle Siko described the horror she faced when she was running errands at the mall‚ which is situated in Ekurhuleni.
“I was at the Capitec bank doing some errands when the lights first went off and on at the bank. At first I wasn’t paying attention because it was raining and I thought the cables had faults and then we had car alarms go off from the parking lot and then papers starting flying in the bank” Siko said.
“A security guard quickly closed the door as he thought there was some sort of robbery at the mall‚ at this point people started screaming and it got chaotic. I asked to run out because I am claustrophobic. I ran towards a passage by the bank where other people also ran for cover. Suddenly we saw a roof falling off and the car alarms were still going strong‚” she added.
Siko said the incident only lasted about two minutes and continued towards Tembisa hospital.
“After the wind went away I ran towards my car. A lot of cars were damaged with windows smashed and two trucks overturned. Luckily my car was still fine so I drove straight home because I was worried about my family and on my way there the road was damaged and street pole cables hanging on the road‚” she described.