A car fell off the bridge on the road between Folovhodwe and Muswodi.
Heavy rains in parts of Vhembe area washed away roads and bridges last Wednesday evening.
In the Niani area within the jurisdiction of the Musina Municipality and in the Thulamela municipal area, severe damage was reported.
Many of the region's dams and rivers are overflowing, following the heavy downpours. Several families lost groceries, furniture and other belongings. Motorists who are staying in mountainous areas such as Masisi, Tshiungani, Folovhodwe, Malale, Domboni and surrounding areas, were forced to park their vehicles near the main tarred road because they were unable to reach their homes.
One of the residents, Mr Shonisani Netshiungani of Tshiungani village, said they wanted the government to build them a proper bridge and to upgrade the rainwater drainage system in the area. “It rained heavily. Our houses were flooded, and our furniture was damaged. We told the municipality that the problem is the lack of a proper bridge and they are instead laughing at us, saying we think we know better, and we are behaving like engineers. We don’t sleep at night when it is raining like this, we want some help. Let them construct a proper road. I didn't go to work because the entrance at my gate was swept away. The water caused erosion and must be filled up again,” he added.
A resident of Masisi, Mr Tsumbedzo Nemakhavhani, describes what happened to his house. “The damage is huge because my house was flooded and furniture, food and clothes were damaged. I have been staying here since 2013 and there was no problem. All my furniture, blankets and groceries were damaged, and I do not have money to replace or repair them,” he added. “I did not sustain any major injuries, but I am extremely shocked,” said Nemakhavhani.
The spokesperson for the Vhembe District Municipality, Mr Matodzi Ralushai, said the bridge linking Musina to Tshamutumbu, Muswodi and Folovhodwe and Mutele had collapsed. According to him, 156 families had been displaced and the roads linking villages had been damaged.
Ralushai said that the affected communities were now forced to use alternative roads to get to work or school and run everyday errands. "Most of the bridges have structural problems, while others are under water," he said. "We have sent out a disaster team and we are visiting the different areas which have been affected by the floods. We are pleading with parents to warn their children not to swim in the dams or play near the rivers, because there are a lot of crocodiles," said Ralushai.
Ralushai told Limpopo Mirror that some of the families had been left homeless after their mud huts had collapsed, but at that stage he had not received any reports of people injured. He warned residents living close to rivers and streams to evacuate to a safer place or higher spot when the water levels rose. “When you cross a flowing river where the water reaches above your ankles, turn back and use alternative routes. Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing water as it can sweep you off your feet. Do not drive over a low-water bridge if the water is flowing strongly across it,” he said.
Date:22 February 2019 - By: Kaizer Nengovhela
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.