Residents of Mmamutlwa village in North West are devastated after three learners from a local primary school in Taung died after suffocating inside a fridge. Residents of Mmamutlwa in Taung have blamed the lack of basic services in their village for the death of three learners of Mmamutlwa Primary School.

Local chief Rajane Mothibi of Batlhaping Ba Ga Mothibi says his village has no basic services, such as water and electricity.

Significantly, there are no recreational facilities for kids.

The learners were allegedly playing outside, when they got trapped in the old unused fridge.

Mothibi believes the tragedy could have been avoided if there was a place for children to play.

“The problem of our village or the problem of rural areas our children has no place to play. We got no place for our children to go and play that’s a big problem for us. They were busy playing this black Maipatile or hide and seek, our hearts are bleeding.”

Ipeleng Gaolehele, Gogontle Gaolehele and Refiloe Montshonyane will be buried on Saturday.

Police say the mother of one of the children left them unsupervised when she went to a local shebeen. Upon her return, the kids were missing. She became suspicious, when she could not find them and took a look inside the fridge, where she discovered their bodies.

North West Education Department says they are distraught by the death of the three children.

Department Spokesperson Elias Malindi says, “Especially, at a critical time like this of the examinations all the parents were expecting their children that were going to write. It’s just unfortunate for these families who have been affected. The department, what they have done is that we have counselled all our learners at school, especially those who were attending the same classes with the passed-on learners.”

Malindi says his department has also assisted the affected families and fellow learners with counselling.