The Acting Provincial Commissioner of Police in Limpopo, Major General Jan Scheepers has heightened an appeal to parents and guardians as well as community members at large to safeguard and protect children and exercise extreme caution after thirty nine people, including children lost their lives through drowning during the current rainy season.
The latest incident took place on Sunday, 6 March 2022, at Praktiseer under Tubatse policing area outside Burgersfort when a 12-year-old boy, Thabang Mogofe drowned in a huge hole that was reportedly dug up by the road construction company. The incident was only reported on Monday, 7 March 2022.
The Police Divers managed to retrieve the child’s body from the depth of 5 meters.
Another similar incident involves a 10-year-old boy who drowned whilst swimming with friends at Ntsima village under Sebayeng policing area in Mankweng on Saturday, 5 March 2022. The incident reportedly took place at about 12:00 but was only reported to the Police at 20:40. Members of the South African Police Service Search and Rescue Unit were activated and on arrival at the scene, the child’s body was retrieved by the divers from the depth of three meters.
Since the beginning of the rainy season to date, a total of 39 people, including fifteen minor children have drowned under different circumstances.
Some drowned when their motor vehicles were swept away by the strong waters after the drivers attempted to cross the flooded low bridges, others, especially children, drowned whilst swimming.
“As a community, we can turn the situation around and stop these drownings by knowing where our children are playing, educate them to desist from swimming in hazardous waters and exercise extreme caution when walking or driving in flooded areas,” said Major General Scheepers.
“I want to also take this moment to commend members of the Search and Rescue Unit who spend sleepless nights and days conducting various search and rescue missions in rivers, dams, mountains, manholes, pit toilets, streams and velds,” concluded Major General Scheepers.