JOHANNESBURG – Three people were treated for shock after parts of the roof collapsed at the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia, South of Johannesburg, on Saturday afternoon during a huge downpour in the area, paramedics said.
Speaking to News24 from the scene, Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services (EMS) spokesperson Nana Radebe said the patients were taken to a nearby hospital for further care.
“The Fruit and Veg shop outside the shopping centre suffered the most damage with large sections of the roof collapsing onto the store’s interior,” Radebe said.
“The shopping centre itself suffered minor damage.”
Trade Route Mall owner Yaseen Valli told News24 that a ceiling panel in the court area collapsed due to flooding of the flooding of the gutters resulted from blockages caused by the hail.
“The top floor is under water, and clean-up operations are underway by the onsite staff,” Valli said on Saturday evening.
He assured customers that the centre’s operations will return to normal on Sunday.
News24 employee Maria Pillay who was on the scene said calm returned to the shopping centre after the storm subsided.
“Most people are just frustrated – this type of thing is not supposed to happen,” Pillay explained.
“It started raining into the movie theatre and people are now just trying to get their money back.”
Most shops in the shopping centre reopened after the rain stopped, Pillay said.
“Some of the cinemas that are not damaged even started showing their movies again.”
“I think everything is mostly under control.”
This is not the first time South African shopping centres suffered structural collapse during heavy rains.
On December 7, two construction workers injured in Newlands East, Durban, after a shopping centre roof collapsed.
The men were believed to be working on an expansion of the centre at the time of the incident.
PHOTO: Damage to the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia, South of Johannesburg. (Maria Pillay, News24)