The family of an 11-year-old boy Onkarabetse Thole, who drowned at the Gogga Pump Station in Kimberley earlier this month, says they are still battling to deal with his death.
Onkarabetse drowned while trying to swim in the waterhole after collecting wood with his friends.
His father says his death would have been avoided and wants answers from the Sol Plaatje Municipality.
“The sad part is even the signs to show that the hole is there, (that) there is a danger, are not here and that kids must not come. Even older people must not come. The sad part is that this is a footpath and at night people are passing. So, anything can happen to people who are passing here,” says the father.
The office of the Public Protector has confirmed that a complaint has been lodged to investigate the drowning of an 11-year-old boy at the Gogga Pump Station in Kimberley.
Northern Cape Provincial Manager Mlungisi Khanya says an investigation is underway.
“We are going to look at whether there was failure on the part of the municipality to repair this leaking pump and if so, whether the conduct of the municipality was improper and constituted maladministration. So, as part of our investigation, what we are going to do, we’re going to raise the matter with the municipality and so that they can let them know about the issues that we’ve picked up from the complaint,” explains Khanya.
Residents living in the neighbourhood say their plea to the Sol Plaatje Municipality has long fallen on deaf ears. They say the waterhole has for the past 18 years posed a danger to all living in the area.
“first and foremost because the incident happened a few weeks ago two to be exact and until this day there isn’t anything here or any blockade to show that a horrible incident happened and that an 11 year old boy lost his life” Omphile Johnson explains.
Meanwhile, the Sol Plaatje Municipality says it barricaded the waterhole using red danger tape, tied on steel which have since been stolen. It says residents are warned not to go near the pump station.
I went for a jog this morning and came across a burst water pipe. I phoned the Sol Plaatje Municipality`s emergency line and in less than an hour a team was there to fix the pipe. I’m deeply impressed, but this should be a norm and not an exception for all our municipalities. pic.twitter.com/HmYZfosehK
— Dr. Zamani Saul (@dr_zsaul1) September 14, 2019