Cape Town’s storm causes chaos

Gale-force winds destroyed hoarding around a construction site at Cavendish Square and parts of the mall's roof collapsed.

The storm that pounded the City last week left destruction in its wake and the southern suburbs weren’t spared.

Gale-force winds toppled trees, including a great oak that blocked both lanes of the M3 near Paradise Road, and tore roofs from their rafters; and Cavendish Square mall was evacuated after part of its roof caved in.

The tree that blocked the M3 on Wednesday morning forced motorists to find detours, but City workmen moved quickly to clear the road.

Eddie Andrews,mayoral committee member for area south, said staff from the recreation and parks department also had their hands full clearing trees in several other areas, and the electricity services department had had to repair downed power lines.

Staff and resources had been deployed to where they were needed from a disaster operations centre.

Mr Andrews said mopping-up operations were continuing and the City’s budget covered overtime costs related to disaster relief.

Bishopscourt Court Residents’ Association (BCRA) member David Baker said two trees had blocked roads in the area, and downed power lines had cut electricty to some homes. Roads next to Cavendish Square were closed on Wednesday after storm pressure collapsed the ceiling on the P3 level. Mall security at the scene said there had been no reports of injuries and the mall had been evacuated as a precaution.

A contractor on site, who did not want to be named, said the wind had also blown open hoarding around a construction area near the Cavendish Road entrance to the mall.

The tempest also blew the roof off a house next to the Kenilworth Centre and dumped it in the mall’s parking lot.

Video that appeared to show sparking wires and smoke near Harfield Village train station was circulated on social media, but Riana Scott, spokeswoman for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, could not vouch for its authenticity.

“We have no record of rail infrastructure affected. It could have been trees toppling electricity cables outside our operational tunnel,” she said.

Cavendish Square centre management did not respond to questions by printing time.