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KZN floods: Father speaks of hours-long mission to retrieve son’s body

Mnotho Mlotshwa (11) was swept away by mudslides at his home in Umlazi, south-west of Durban, on Tuesday while playing with his friend.

FILE: A man tries to salvage some of his furniture at an informal settlement of BottleBrush, south of Durban, after torrential rains and flash floods destroyed his home on 23 April 2019. Picture: AFP

DURBAN - The father of an 11-year-old boy who died during this week’s heavy rains in parts of KwaZulu-Natal has told Eyewitness News about the harrowing, hours-long mission to retrieve his body.

Mnotho Mlotshwa was swept away by mudslides at his home in Umlazi, south-west of Durban, on Tuesday while playing with his friend.

Torrential rains have destroyed homes, roads and other infrastructure, and have left thousands of people destitute, mainly in the southern coastal region of the city.

More than 50 people have been confirmed dead.

Overcome with emotion, Mlotshwa recalled on Wednesday the moment he received a call urging him to rush back home.

"A call came in from people at home saying: 'Mr Mlotshwa please rush to Umlazi regarding a tragedy that has happened.' Then I heard that my child is no longer alive."

His shack was swept away by mudslides while his son, Mnotho, was inside.

Mlotshwa said community members rolled up their sleeves as they frantically tried for eight hours to find his son who was buried beneath collapsed structures and rubble.

“When I arrived, I couldn’t see my son... everything I own was destroyed.”

Mlotshwa, who hails from Nkandla, said that the only things he has left are the clothes on his back.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal residents are still reeling from the heavy rains which have led to deadly floods, power cuts, and blocked roads.

Search and rescue operations resumed on Wednesday morning after more bodies were discovered overnight.

Local authorities said they were working to restore services to affected communities.

KZN Cooperative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said residents had started to rebuild their homes.

At the same time, President Cyril Ramaphosa commended rescue teams for risking their lives in saving residents in the flood-stricken areas.

He sent his condolences to the families who lost loved ones.

The president also announced that National Treasury was making emergency funds available to help with relief efforts.

WATCH: Ramaphosa goes to areas affected by floods in KZN

Additional reporting by Mia Lindeque.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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