Durban - A man who was allegedly assaulted and dumped in a manhole said he had survived on a trickle of water after becoming trapped in the storm water drain with a broken arm for five days.
A dehydrated Mbuso Msimango, 28, was rescued by paramedics on Sunday after a passerby heard his cries for help.
Msimango claimed he been assaulted by a gang of men who kicked and beat him with stones before stuffing him into the manhole on Percy Osborne Road in Morningside, Durban.
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said neither the Berea nor Durban Central SAPS had such information on record.
Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday, an emaciated Msimango said he had been sitting outside a petrol station near the home where he worked as a pool cleaner when he was accosted. “I don’t know why they beat me and what they wanted from me.”
The Dalton Hostel resident, originally from Nkandla, said that once the assailants had stuffed him in the shallow manhole, they replaced the cement cover, which was too heavy for him to lift to free himself.
Crouched in the hole, which is about 1.5m deep, Msimango thought someone would hear his cries for help.
However, as his energy started to wane from trying to push the manhole cover away and shouting, he said he had started to lose hope.
“Night fell, then day came and night fell again and again. I started to lose my mind,” said a shaken Msimango.
The only way he survived was by sucking droplets of water from the pipes leading into the drain.
He was found on Sunday after a woman walking by heard his call.
“I heard a noise nearby and shouted for help. The person must have been startled because they shouted ‘islwane’ (animal). I called to her that I am not an animal and that I am stuck in here,” he said. The woman called for help and Msimango was pulled out by a police search and rescue crew.
EMS spokesman, Robert McKenzie, said the man was dehydrated and had a broken arm but was in a stable condition. He was taken to hospital.