A storm raged through Johannesburg and parts of the East Rand and West Rand on Monday afternoon, leaving a trail of destruction.

At least one person died and several were injured in what was described as a “tornado” that ripped off the roofs of a primary school, a shopping mall and many houses on the West Rand.

The Yaldwyn Power Station, in Jet Park near OR Tambo International Airport, in Kempton Park, was on fire, causing massive power outages on the East Rand. Twitter posts showed thick plumes of dark smoke coming from the power station amid the rain.

It was not known what sparked the blaze but it plunged parts of Ekurhuleni into darkness from Kempton Parkto Atlasville, Plantation and Witfield.

The Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said it was still receiving reports of fatal car accidents.

Meanwhile officials said entire households had been left without homes.

“In the community of Orient hills on the West Rand‚ emergency personnel are in the process of relocating as many as 500 people after their homes were destroyed‚ to the Magaliesberg community hall‚” the department said.

“These people are provided with food and blankets. Authorities are busy assessing the wind and hail damage experienced in a number of other communities and these victims are in the process of receiving the necessary relief.”

Netcare 911 on Monday night confirmed that one person was killed in the storm in Krugersdorp; ER24 reported two injuries in Krugersdorp.

Daniel Zambezi, who lives in the street across from Cradlestone Mall, said he got the fright of his life when the storm swept through the area. He said he thought the world was coming to an end.

“I was just praying,” said Zambezi, whose house’s roof and perimeter wall partially collapsed.

ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring said two people suffered minor to moderate injuries when the shopping mall’s roof collapsed.

“There were no serious or fatal injuries,” he said.

The mall was evacuated.

Other photos showed the debris of destroyed shacks scattered in the open veld.

Several houses were destroyed as their walls collapsed.

In Protea Glen, Soweto, the roof of Protea Riff Primary School blew off. Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesman Nana Radebe said no injuries were reported.

Pictures of a block of flats in Honeydew showed roof tiles blown off, collapsed carports – and an overturned car.

Several vehicles were submerged in flood water on the roads.

Weather SA forecaster Madimetja Thema said the reports of tornadoes were unconfirmed.

“Only once we have assessed all the information will we be able to confirm that this was a tornado. For now we refer to it as a storm.”


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