A boy (12) drowned yesterday in a pit between Nketa 8 and Nkulumane 5 suburbs where Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is undertaking sewer upgrade works.
Residents say the pit was dug three months ago. BCC is said to have contracted a security company to guard the pit and yesterday’s drowning occurred when a security guard was not at the post.
The mother of the child, Silindile Moyo, from house number 858 Nketa 6, Bulawayo, confirmed her son’s sudden death.
Two of her sons went swimming at around 7AM and the older one did not make it back home alive.
“My two kids, Prince and Pius Bosha (the deceased), left home at around 7am and went to a pit to swim. In an hour the younger brother came with the clothes of Pius who was in Grade Seven, saying he is refusing to come out. I rushed to the scene and found people from the community gathered. He was floating on the water,” she said.
A Nketa 8 resident, Mr Stilwell Tawasika, said the body was removed by the police sub-aqua unit at around 9AM.
“Sub-aqua unit came with BCC ambulance to remove the body. They tried first aid but it was too late,” said Mr Tawasika.
The security guard who was responsible for guarding the site during the morning shift Mr Lindani Mtambo said he was at work monitoring children “on the other side,” when the drowning happened
“This area is too big for one person. I was monitoring other kids loitering on the other side when I received a call from my supervisor Mr Casper Ndlovu that a boy had drowned,” said Mr Mtambo.
The supervisor, Mr Ndlovu, could not be reached for comment.
Bulawayo Residents’ Association Ward 24 chairperson who identified himself only as Mr W Nhliziyo blamed BCC for the death of the boy.
He said council resources were being used to pay people who were neglecting their duties.
“I put all the blame on city council because they have supervisors who are paid using city council resources to monitor such operations. There are the ones who dug the pit about three months ago and failed to protect it,” said Mr Nhliziyo.
No comment could be obtained immediately from council over the drowning.
When a Chronicle news crew left the scene at around 1PM, the body was still at the scene after being retrieved at around 9AM.
Residents said police had said they did not have fuel to take the body to the mortuary.
Late last month, legislators complained in parliament that when deaths occur at home the bereaved are being asked to take the bodies to the mortuary as police say they do not have fuel or vehicles.
The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Mike Madiro responded saying Government policy states that the police must collect the bodies.
“It is not Government policy that the bereaved are responsible for taking the dead or deceased person to the mortuary. Government policy provides that the police should go to the place where the person has died, assess, take a statement and then take it to the mortuary and not the bereaved family to do that. The police are required to do their jobs diligently even in the face of challenges,” he said.