Firefighter dies in flood rescue

DELUGE OF DEATH: Two people died after a white minibus taxi was swept away by floodwater from a bridge in the Frischgewaagd village near Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga on Saturday. Picture: TWITTER

As heavy rains wreaked havoc in several parts of Gauteng, Nkangala Fire division chief Maggie Machete says an investigation will follow the death of one of their rescue workers who died while trying to save a passenger from a minibus taxi that was swept away at Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga on Saturday.

Firefighter Jerry Mogoe, 31, was in the strong currents flooding the Mohlabetsi River when his safety cable snapped.

His body and that of passenger Engeline Msiza, 26, was retrieved on the same day.

“The deceased was one of our firefighters and managed to rescue the driver of the taxi.

“One of the other firefighters tried to rescue the other passenger and that’s where everything went wrong,” Machete said.

She said she was still traumatised by the tragedy.

The heavy rains wreaked havoc in many parts of the country and a number of roads had to be closed off.

Mpumalanga was one of the provinces swept by the deluge.

Police spokesperson Brig Leonard Hlathi said the heavy rains started in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A member of the public, Dolly Mthweni, posted a picture on her Facebook page of a white minibus taxi trapped in floodwater on what appeared to be a bridge in Frischgewaagd village.

A nearby informal settlement was also badly affected while several vehicles were reportedly swept away in the floods.

President Jacob Zuma yesterday extended his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

The SA Weather Service said the last chances of heavy rain was expected in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga yesterday.

The city of Johannesburg’s emergency services spokesperson, Robert Mulaudzi, also confirmed reports of flooding around the city including in Driezik Extension 5, Alexandra, Lanseria, Fourways and Paulshof.

A number of roads were reported flooded including Union Road in Kliptown and Main Reef Road in Robertville in the Randburg area.

The heavy rains also caused chaos in November last year. Two bodies, one of a three-yearold Everlate Chauke and another of a woman was found along the Juksei River near the N3.

People living in the Setswetla settlement in Alexandra were forced to rebuild their homes after they was badly damaged in the floods. Some of them were forced to seek refuge at a temporary accommodation station.