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    A double tragedy struck the Sterkfontein Resort in a space of three days, after two incidents of drowning occurred on Saturday the 06th January 2018. At about 13:00, private divers who were visiting Sterkfontein Resort discovered a Toyota Tazz that had submerged in the dam. According to the SAPS spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo the vehicle was removed from water by the private towing company. Upon towing the car four bodies were discovered which were confirmed to be of a 35-year-old mother and her three sons, aged 13, 8 and 5. They were identified as a family from Lusaka in Makwane Village. The deceased were last seen in the resort on the 5 January 2018 at about 21:00, an inquest docket has been registered for further investigation.

    Two days later in the early hours of Monday, the family of Ndlovu received a call to come and identify their son on January 08 of which upon the arrival was told that the deceased was of the 24 year old Steven Ndlovu. It is alleged that Ndlovu was swimming with his friend while the incident occured in the Sterkfontein Dam. It is still unclear how the two managed to sneak into the prohibited area. Both were declared dead at the scene by Maluti A Phofung Public Safety Rescue Divers alongside SAPS, it appears they might have sustained brain damage during the drowning. “For those of us whose lives have not been touched by the tragedy of this nature, it is difficult to understand the turmoil associated with it. Yet, when this happens, entire families are caught up in the loss, with feelings of guilt and a sense of failure as you can see the mother of Steven, all because of irresponsible and negligent people,” said MMC Cllr Twalanki Nthinya responsible for Public Safety, Security and Protection Services. On tourist attraction sites such as Sterkfontein, Twalanki recommended adult supervision at all times and the entrance record be archived accordingly to monitor movements with the resort and install CCTV camera system.

    Statistics from Childsafe, the country’s largest advocacy group for child accident prevention, revealed that accidental trauma kills more than 20 children a day between four and 15 years of age in South Africa. According to Netcare 911 drowning is listed as one of the leading causes of unnatural death among young people in South Africa. The Medical Research Council of South Africa recorded, over the past five years 3 000 deaths were caused by drowning. As stipulated in the constitution that children have the right to a secure environment, MAP Department of Public Safety, Security and Protection Services urges parents and guardians to be alert of the whereabouts of their children and encourage the community to learn how swim especially during the hot summer months where people have interests of swimming to prevent deaths cause by drowning.

    By: Masilo Malakwane