Thirteen people were killed in a south-eastern province of South Africa during an Easter service after a church wall collapsed on them late yesterday following days of heavy rains and strong winds, emergency services said today.

At least 29 people with injuries ranging from serious to minor were taken to hospital for treatment, KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Robert McKenzie said.

"There was a strong storm at the time but we can't be totally sure why the wall collapsed until the police are done with their investigations," said Mr McKenzie.

Pictures of the scene on the emergency services' Twitter page showed bricks and piles of debris strewn across the church floor, with pipes and pillars hanging from higher parts of the building.