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Durban - Heavy rainfalls in KwaZulu-Natal claimed the lives of four people at the weekend.
On Saturday, two toddler cousins drowned when they fell into a pit filled with water in Luganda near Klaarwater.
And on Sunday a couple died after their car swerved off the N2 highway and plunged into the aManzimtoti River.
In Klaarwater Alwande Ngcobo and Senamile Cele, both three, fell into the pit which had been dug alongside their outdoor toilet. This pit was to become the new toilet as the existing one was getting full.
They were discovered dead at about 5pm on Saturday afternoon.
The distraught mothers - sisters Nompumelelo, 20, and Thembisile, 29 - were in mourning at their family home on Sunday, comforting each other.
The heavy storms had torn through the Luganda settlement destroying fences, roads, and electrical cables.
The pit is about 1m deep and 20m away from Nompumelelo’s shack, in which she lived with Alwande, her only child.
The sisters shared the outdoor toilet.
Nompumelelo said she had put her son to sleep and was busy trying to mop up her flooded shack.
Little Alwande’s last words to her mother were “I love you mommy”.
“I hushed him to sleep and wrapped him in blankets and started getting the water out of the house, and then after a while my nephew, Ndumiso, 8, came to ask where Alwande was, I went to the bed and I found he wasn’t there.
“Then we looked around and found them floating in the muddy water,” said Nompumelelo.
Nompumelelo, a business economics student at the Universal FET College in the Durban CBD, said she could not bear to return to her shack and would be staying with her family for the next few months.
Her sister, Thembisile, had left her daughter, Senamile, in the care of her other kids, Ndumiso, eight, and Mmeli, 10.
Her house had also been flooded and she was also trying to clean up.
“I do not know when he left the house... she must have wandered off to my sister's place,” she said.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said an inquest docket had been opened.
eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo visited the distraught families on Sunday.
Municipal spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng, Luganda was one of many areas that had been flooded in Durban.
“Our disaster management team has been working around the clock to assist all those who have been affected,” Mofokeng said.
Mofokeng said they had received reports of roofs being blown away, trees falling and houses being flooded.
KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance spokesman, Lennox Mabaso, said the provincial disaster management services were monitoring the situation.
Ward councillor, Mdu Gumede, described the three-year-olds’ deaths as “bad luck” and “unfortunate”.
He said the area where the sisters were living had no sanitation because it was still awaiting development.
Fewer than 10 families lived in that area, he said.
Gumede said they would assist with the funerals.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday and the funeral on Saturday.
He said social workers would be called in to counsel the family.
In the other drownings, two people died after their car veered off the N2 highway and plunged into the aManzimtoti River on Sunday.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said the car was travelling in the north-bound lane when it swerved off the road, smashed through the barriers and plunged about 20m into the river.
He said the car landed on its roof and both the driver and passenger had been trapped inside.
He said paramedics and RTI officials waded into the chest-deep water to rescue the victims.
A heavy recovery vehicle was used to winch the car out of the water.
Rescuers then broke the windows and pulled both victims out.
Tragically both husband and wife were declared dead at the scene, he said.
Zwane said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.
He said the deceased had been identified as Mr MV Greentee and Dr PIY Celaya, who was based at the GJ Crooks Hospital in Scottburgh.
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