Teenager still missing after Durban floods

Asemahle Mazeka’s family was rescued from trees but she has not been found

By Nokulunga Majola

19 April 2022

Fifteen-year-old Asemahle Anele Mazeka was swept away from her home during the KwaZulu-Natal floods. She has not yet been found. Photo: supplied

The family of 15-year-old Asemahle Anele Mazeka is still trying to find the missing teenager swept away from her home north of Durban during last week’s floods.

Asemahle was at her home in Amaoti, with her three siblings, her mother and her mother’s boyfriend when the house they were living in was washed away. Her siblings and her mother’s boyfriend were found at 2am the next morning, trapped in trees, and taken to hospital. But Asemahle has not been found. Her Aunt Sne Hadebe told GroundUp that they have lost hope that she is still alive.

According to Hadebe, Asemahle’s mother said she went outside to look for a spade leaving everybody else in the house. She was about to start digging trenches to divert the water when she heard a loud noise and the house collapsed.

“It’s the eighth day today and the search continues. I am really concerned because there hasn’t been any much assistance from government. It is the community who is doing the search with no resources. All we want is to find her body to get closure,” Hadebe said.

She said other families in the area are also searching for their missing loved ones. She saw a helicopter hovering in the area once, and on Monday, police with dogs came to help with the search but left after an hour due to the rain. She said she understands that there are other people missing and resources are stretched thin, but the family needs help.

“People have been out there everyday even in the rain searching but the area is too big and without resources it is mission impossible,” said Community Policing Forum member Sipho Zuma. “We would like some assistance from government.”

According to KwaZulu Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala, 63 people are still missing and at least 443 people have died. He said pilots and crews, rescue dogs, people on jet skis and other experts had been deployed on search and rescue missions.