South Africa, Pretoria – The mother of one of the children who drowned in an open trench in Hammanskraal two weeks ago said she did not believe that the boys were swimming as initially reported.
Johanna Maphoso, whose son Samuel, 10, was among the dead, said they inspected the area and found no footsteps to indicate that the boys were there.
According to her, there were also no clothes nearby which the boys may have removed before getting into the water.
She said she rushed to the scene and even tried to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but was stopped by paramedics.
She further claimed the paramedics did nothing to resuscitate the children, and did not have a battery for equipment needed to do so.
Maphoso said the parents wanted justice for their children.
Her son, Kutlwano Mkhwanazi, 9, and Tshepo Machete, 10, died on November 21 when they drowned in the trench that had been left open since early this year.
Tshiamo Hleza, 9, also drowned two days later when he and his friend slipped and fell into the trench while they were washing their hands.
His friend was rescued by an adult who heard their screams, but the resident couldn’t reach Tshiamo, who had been trapped in mud.
Officials from the city and the contractor have visited the families to offer their condolences and assistance.
On Wednesday, Action SA leader Herman Mashaba also went to the area and offered to help the families to hold the City of Tshwane and its contractor accountable for the tragedy.
The former Joburg mayor was in the area to “respond to calls from community leaders to help the families of four boys who lost their lives”.
Mashaba, accompanied by senior party officials, including DA regional leader and Tshwane MMC Abel Tau, who has since joined Action SA, said the families would use the party’s legal team to sue the City of Tshwane and the contractor for negligence.
“This is really an easy case, a case of negligence by the City of Tshwane and negligence by the contractor assigned to do a job. As a South African, I am not prepared to let our government do this to our communities, 26 years into our democracy. The families have given me the mandate to get them the best legal intervention to make sure that criminal charges are laid against the City and the contractor, including civil claims,” said Mashaba.