Police in the North West are urging parents and caregivers to take proper care of their children to avoid tragic accidents.
The call comes after six children in rural North West died within days. Three suffocated in an old fridge and the other trio lost their lives after they were trapped an unused car.
The Goalehele siblings were playing with their neighbour, Refiloe Monchonyane. Their caregiver had gone to a local shebeen and when she returned – they were nowhere to be found. Their bodies were found inside an old fridge after a long search. It seems the children had climbed inside when the door latched from outside and they could not get out again. They suffocated to death.
Refiloe’s mother, Lerato Monchonyane, says they have received great support from community members who are devastated by the deaths.
“This had shocked the whole community even the family. But we got a lot of support from the taxi association, the municipality helped with the burial, and the Chief in Sekhing also contributed,” she told SABC News.
Days later – three children from Morokweng lost their lives in yet another tragic accident. The Mohibidu siblings and a neighbour’s child played on their own when their grandmother went to a funeral.
Police Spokesperson Sabata Mokgwabone elaborates: ” Of the three children, two of them that is Thabo and Thoriso Mohibidu are a brother and sister while 6-year-old Bokao Sheleng is a neighbour’s child and friend to Thabo and Thoriso. Members of the community and parents are urged to take proper care of their children to avoid tragic incidents such as these.”
It is believed that the children started to undress when it became hot inside the car as their half dressed lifeless bodies were discovered hours later.
The father of the Mohibidu siblings, Isaac, is devastated.
“What has happened is devastating. We did not expect such a thing to happen to us. Even the community did not take what happened very well. We are still in shock,” he says.
Children in rural areas are especially vulnerable to neglect and one legal expert says steps should be taken against the culprits.
Dr Delano van der Linde of the North West Universities faculty of Law says: “Under the children’s Act, certain people have statutory duty to report forms of child neglect or abuse such as medical practitioners, teachers and volunteers – have a specific duty to report potential child abuse or neglect.”
The police in the North West have confirmed that they have not opened cases of child neglect in either of the two cases.