Johannesburg - Eleven people drowned in Mpumalanga in the past week because of heavy rains and 12 were rescued, police said on Tuesday.
Persistent rain and flooding had hit large parts of the province, including in Tonga, Nelspruit, Greylingstad, Piet Retief, and Badplaas, said police spokesman Colonel Leonard Hlathi.
Three children, aged between two and 11 years old, were among those who had drowned from last Tuesday.
“The two-year-old boy from Piet Retief fell into a hole that was dug for erecting a pit toilet,” said Hlathi.
Several people drowned when they attempted to cross flooded rivers in the area.
Two of the bodies had not been retrieved because of the dangerous condition of the rivers.
The 12 people, including motorists whose vehicles were swept away in flood water while they attempted to cross flooded bridges, were rescued by the Inland Water Police and Diving Service, said Hlathi.
Mpumalanga co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Simon Skhosana had handed over relief supplies to residents affected by flooding in the Nkomazi local municipality near Badplaas.
Skhosana, accompanied by Nkomazi mayor Thulisile Khoza, handed over food parcels and blankets to the 38 affected families on Monday, department spokesman George Mthethwa said in a statement.
“The provision forms part of the government's relief effort for the affected families,” Mthethwa said.
Skhosana also visited several bridges in Mzinti, Tonga and Mlumati, to determine the extent of the damage caused by heavy rain and flooding in the area.
He said the department was co-ordinating reconstruction of the damaged bridges and the matter had been discussed with sector departments.
Motorists in the area were urged to avoid flooded rivers, bridges or dams.
“Parents are also urged to look after their children and discourage them from playing around rivers and dams because of the inherent dangers,” said provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Thulani Ntobela.