WATCH: Emotional scenes at memorial service for four Cape boys who died in sinkhole

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Feb 17, 2021

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Cape Town - There were emotional scenes at Lusaka sports field in Nyanga on Tuesday as members of the community joined the families of the four boys who died after falling into a sinkhole at an N2 bridge for a memorial service.

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who attended the service, said her wish was to see the area where the boys died declared as a memorial site, saying she would use all her energy to see to it that her wish was fulfilled.

The bodies of Iva Kalikopu, 13, Nqabayethu Mlaza, 12, and Axolile and Azola Quweni, 13, were recovered by emergency crews on Monday last week and in the early hours of Tuesday, after they fell into the hole under the bridge along the N2 highway at the Borcherds Quarry turn-off, close to Nyanga.

Friends pay tribute to the four boys who died in a sinkhole last Monday. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
The bodies of Iva Kalikopu, 13, Nqabayethu Mlaza, 12, and Axolile and Azola Quweni, 13, were recovered by emergency crews on Monday last week.
The memorial service of the four boys who died in a sinkhole in Nyanga was held at the Lusaka Soccer field. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Lunga Quweni, who represented the four families, thanked everyone who had been with them throughout the tragedy “whether it be prayers or relief support”, saying the families could not bear the trauma of losing their children on their own.

Quweni said the families were expected to bury their children this coming weekend.

Councillor Khaya Yozi, whose constituency borders the N2 and Borcherds Quarry Road, said he asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit the families, “and he agreed to meet with them on Thursday”.

Pupils and teachers from different schools also attended the memorial service, and sang hymns while holding up placards and signs with the pictures of the four boys.

Lungelwa Ncapai, a deputy principal and a teacher at Mvula primary school in Crossroads, said it was a sad day for the teachers and pupils at the school, because they lost one of their pupils, Nqabayethu, who was described as a quiet and smart child.

Ncapai said she taught Nqabayethu in grade five, and this year he was going to grade six.

“He was taken from us so soon, and we never expect this to happen to us,” she said.

Energy and Climate Change Mayco member Phindile Maxiti, who represented mayor Dan Plato on behalf of the City, said the City was the people’s government, so there was no way that a tragedy of this nature would happen and then “we” will be away from the people.

Maxiti said they attended the service as people, parents, brothers and sisters to convey their condolences, saying nobody knew about the tragedy.

“What we are not going to do as the City is to play a finger pointing game, because we don’t think it is time for that, but it is very important to call upon leaders, including ward councillors, to work with us to identify all the possibilities of similar incidents so that we can react or be proactive on solving those,” said Maxiti.

He said the councillor and the families have been working with the office of the mayor to assist with funeral arrangements.

One of the speakers at the memorial service was Minister of Human Settlement Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
One of the speakers at the memorial service was Minister of Human Settlement Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Argus

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