Motorists warned not to use Mncube drive in Soweto

Friday, February 27, 2009

Johannesburg - Johannesburg Emergency Services are urging motorists and pedestrians not to use the Mofolo Bridge on Mncube Drive in Soweto which was flooded after a heavy storm on Thursday night.

The storm that thrashed the Gauteng province on Thursday left a wake of destruction in Soweto, especially in Mofolo central, Dube and Meadowlands.

Speaking to BuaNews, Emergency Services spokesperson, Percy Morokane said: "We are appealing to our motorists to refrain from using the Mncube Drive. They must not attempt to cross the Mofolo bridge."

Mr Morokane said the body of a 13-year old girl who drowned at Meadowlands Zone 10 on Thursday was discovered at the Dorothy Nyembe Park, while a 20 day-old baby, cyclist and a taxi driver went missing during the storm.

A team comprising of the South African Police Service's (SAPS) dog unit and divers and foot trackers among others are still searching for the missing three.

A bus was also washed away on the Kliepspruit Bridge in Dhlamini. Mr Morokane explained that when the passengers saw the water levels rising at the low-lying bridge, they began to panic.

Some passengers jumped off the bus, while others had to be rescued by emergency services.

According to Mr Morokane, 42 passengers who were taken to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital were treated for shock, bruises and cuts.

A joint operational centre has been established at the Jabulani fire station to assess the damage and help victims of the floods. The centre is being manned by Johannesburg Emergency Services, SAPS and volunteers.

Johannesburg Emergency Services Chief Chaplain Matsipane Lekgwate told BuaNews they had begun offering spiritual and psychological support to the traumatised and the bereaved families.

Gauteng Premier, Paul Mashatile and Johannesburg Mayor, Amos Masondo are expected to tour the affected areas as well as visit the affected families on Friday

Puseletso Mofokeng, a forecaster at the South African Weather Services has warned that there is a 60 percent chance of rain over the weekend in Gauteng.

"We are expecting thunder showers in most parts of the province, the situation will continue until Sunday," he said.