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Forty-five people have drowned in the Eastern Cape so far this month, many of them in rivers after recent heavy rains, police said on Friday.
Most of the drownings happened in the Tsitsa and Mzimvubu rivers, Captain John Fobian said.
Others had drowned in the Buffalo and Swartkops rivers, at Bluewater Bay, at Tina Falls, and in various dams.
In one case a circumcision initiate drowned in a quarry at Port Alfred while trying to help a fellow initiate who had been battling in the water.
The drownings have prompted police to warn people not to drink alcohol before entering the water, and for children to be under supervision when swimming.
“The recent heavy rains have also not made it easy to swim as the waters are torrent(ial) and difficult to swim in, thereby resulting in the drowning in many rivers,” read a police statement.
“They also make it difficult for police divers... as some of the bodies are carried by the water very far away from the place of entry and drowning.”
Eastern Cape police warned that nets over swimming pools, and fences and gates around them, should be well maintained and securely placed at all times.
On beaches bathers should swim only where lifeguards were on duty and within demarcated areas. - Sapa