Scores of people were injured, houses collapsed or washed away and trees uprooted when a tornado ripped through semi-rural areas in New Hanover, just outside Pietermaritzburg, on Tuesday afternoon.
According to KwaZulu-Natal's co-operative governance office, the areas of Mpolweni and Thokozani in the uMshwathi Local Municipality were particularly hard hit.
In a video that went viral on social media, the large tornado is seen moving through the countryside while strong winds can be heard on the audio.
However, the country's weather bureau was quick to caution that such weather was not uncommon.
Eskom reported that its Mersey substation had been affected by the tornado, "which led the 33kV Mpolweni feeder to trip".
Eskom teams were on-site and waiting for the storm to subside before evaluating the damage, said Joyce Zingoni, Eskom's communications and stakeholder manager for KwaZulu-Natal.
I just witnessed a Tornado peoples lost their homes here In Pmb, Empolwen pic.twitter.com/mv8qH04EoS -- LIGHT ROOM PHOTO EDITING SPECIALIST (@faces_li) November 12, 2019
South African Weather Service forecaster Jan Vermeulen told Daily Maverick late Tuesday night that the tornado had blown over, and there was no indication of any others forming, despite social media reports.
The weather service's official...