By Thandeka Moyo/ Andile Tshuma/Wynne Zanamwe
Five people, including four school children, drowned in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in separate incidents between Friday last week and Sunday.
In the first incident, five pupils were swept away when they tried to cross a flooded Mutonhori River in Somabula on Friday. Police said Shamaine Moyo (12) and Mirriam Mahefu, both Grade 3 pupils, were found dead downstream.
“The deceased and their schoolmates tried to cross Mutonhori River and were swept away. Two drowned but the other three children were rescued by Mistake Ncube,” read a police report.
The following day in Bulawayo, a Grade 5 pupil at Mgoqo Primary School in Nkulumane drowned in a pool at a farm in Rangemore plots while playing with a group of friends after a church service.
Vusi Nxumalo (10) from Nkulumane suburb allegedly drowned while playing with five friends.
His friends kept the incident a secret for hours until elders questioned them about Vusi’s whereabouts.
Vusi’s mother, Mrs Siphilisiwe Nxumalo, said they were attending a church service at Rangemore Adventist church when the children went out for a walk during lunch time.
She said by the time the family called the Fire Brigade and the police Sub-aqua unit, it was too late.
“It’s a long distance to Mpofu’s farm from our church but boys will be boys, they went there. We found his clothes next to the pool. His friends told us that he just stripped and plunged into the water for a swim. My son couldn’t swim,” Mrs Nxumalo said.
She appealed to authorities to fill up the huge pit left by sand poachers, saying three people had drowned in it.
Bulawayo police spokesperson, Inspector Precious Simango, said: “We confirm that a 10-year-old boy drowned in a pool at a farm in Rangemore.
Parents should take care of children especially considering that this is the rainy season. Minors should be guarded at all times if there are water bodies close by. If pupils need to cross rivers and streams to get to school, parents should escort them and ensure that they are safe, even when they return. A pupil would rather not go to school if it’s too risky to do so.”
She urged motorists and pedestrians not to cross flooded rivers.
In another incident, a 25-year-old man died at Victoria Falls Municipality Water Works on Sunday while trying to clean a water tank.
Colleagues found Handsome Phiri floating in the tank and rushed him to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Matabeleland North police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Eglon Nkala confirmed the incident and said investigations were underway.
A resident, Mr Kenny Mlambo, said: “His father is a council worker and is still failing to come to terms with his son’s death. Some residents went to the extent of spreading social media messages that water would be cut as a result of the accident and we discovered it was all lies.”
In the final incident, an eight-year-old Nyamandlovu boy drowned on Sunday after he attempted to swim in a pond near Lushane grazing area.
Andile Ngwenya and four friends allegedly jumped into the pond while herding cattle at around 10AM. Police confirmed the incident yesterday and said the body had been taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for post-mortem as the boy’s parents are suspecting foul play. The Chronicle