Lavender Hill man, 69, dies in freak blow

A man was killed after part of a building fell on his wendy house.

A Hillview family is still reeling after a freak accident killed their 69-year-old father and uncle during the storm on Wednesday, June 7.

Joseph Conning was standing in the kitchen of his wendy house in Rose Street when part of his neighbour’s unfinished double-storey house fell him, killing him on impact.

The unfinished top storey of the house had been blown over by the storm which brought gale force wind speeds of more than 100 kilometres an hour last week.

Mr Conning’s nephew Jody Africa, 19, was with him in the wendy house and sustained head injuries.

Jody said he heard a loud noise and saw the roof collapse, pinning him under rubble. He managed to escape and tried to assist his uncle. “I tried to get as much rubble off him but when I got to him he was already unconscious,” said Jody.

Mr Conning was pronounced dead on the scene.

Her daughter Calida Solomon said her family didn’t expect something like this to happen.

“We were a bit worried about the state of the double-storey and my husband and I didn’t want our children to sleep in the wendy house because we had a feeling something bad could happen but we never thought something like this could happen,” she said.

The family, however, said they don’t harbour any resentment towards the owner of the double-storey house.

“The neighbour was very remorseful and we told him that he shouldn’t blame himself,” said Ms Solomon.

The neighbour Chrisandro Dirks, a shoemaker, said he was periodically building the double-storey house as money came
in.

“We started about four years ago and we were in the process of building two bedrooms. What happened is such a tragedy because Uncle Joe was my friend. We spoke every morn-
ing and I am very sad that he died the way he did,” said Mr Dirks.

* The storm and a fire in Kraaifontein claimed the lives of eight people last week.

Over 2000 were displaced and over a 100 had to be evacua-
ted.

Schools were closed on Wednesday June 7 and according to the Western Cape Education Department, 135 schools had reported storm damage with 41 schools reporting damage to roofs.