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3 CHILDREN DROWN IN 48 HOURS

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SIPHOFANENI – In less than 48 hours, three drowning incident have been recorded in various parts of the country.

One of these is that of an 11-year-old pupil from Othandweni Primary School. Mdumiseni Mthimkhulu, who was doing Grade V, drowned on Tuesday afternoon at a Lusip I canal situated at Maphilongo under Siphofaneni Inkhundla. The body of the minor was retrieved yesterday morning by a police team of scuba divers. 

Search 

Present during the body search that started at around 7am were Siphofaneni Member of Parliament (MP) Mduduzi Simelane, senior police officers from the Lubombo Regional Headquarters, Maphilongo Chiefdom Headman, Jabulani Mndzebele, Bucopho Siphiwe Shongwe and residents of the area.

The minor, it was gathered, was living with his grandparents and his younger sister.  The search for the minor’s body lasted almost an hour before it was spotted by the divers at the water-diversion point where it was retrieved.

When the divers brought out the corpse of the minor, the mood turned sombre, with MP Simelane being the first to be overcome by emotions as he knelt down and prayed. One of the minors who were with Mdumiseni reported his disappearance to the area’s elders, who promptly dispatched a search party. 

A senior resident of the area, David Shongwe, pleaded with residents to monitor their children’s movements as it was the only way to ensure that they were not tempted to come and swim at the canal.

“A child is easy to lose sight of, you can spot her/him now only to find that he/she has disappeared without you noticing. Parents should make sure that they warn their children against swimming in the canal as it is dangerous. I believe something should be done to educate children about this. I am shocked because the boy was the only pillar of strength to his grandparents as he cooked and did other household chores,” David said.

Disheartening 

A member of the police scuba divers said it was disheartening to note that more cases of drowning were recorded yet it was just the beginning of the year.

“This is the fourth drowning incident reported since the year began. Parents need to exercise vigilance as the numbers will increase if people are not educated about this,” said the police officer.

Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed the matter.

“It was reported to the police and luckily, the search party and our team managed to find the body. Again, I would like to appeal to communities to monitor children and warn them against swimming in rivers and dams at this time of the year. Drowning of children is becoming a concern as we are recording deaths now and again,” she said.

Meanwhile, MP Simelane implored parents to exercise vigilance and monitor their children at all times.

Simelane described the demise of the minor as an unfortunate incident. 

He said the minor was the only one who was doing chores for the family, like cooking and fetching water.

“This is so painful. I am in pain and this has shattered my spirit because the boy was the only one who made sure food was cooked and water was fetched for the family. I would like to thank the police for the sterling job in retrieving the body and the residents for coming to the party in making sure that the body is found. It is a sad scenario and a tragedy for the community and the country. It is not the first time such a thing happens in the area,” Simelane said.

Meanwhile, the second incident as confirmed by the police is that of a two-year-old girl who also drowned in a canal on Tuesday at around 2pm.

This incident happened at Bethany in Matsapha.



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