Durban — As parents prepare for their children to go back to school, the family of a 13-year-old boy are still awaiting news of his disappearance after he drowned in the Umgeni River while swimming with friends in the Parlock area.
Mhlengi Dlulisa drowned on Friday morning while he was swimming with three friends in the river which is a few kilometres from his mother’s home in Reservoir Hills.
The chairperson of a local committee, Ntombi Maqabene, said the children, aged 10, 12 and 13, had gone to play at a playground near the Umgeni River.
“The four children (including the deceased) decided to swim after playing soccer at a nearby playground. Those who witnessed the incident told us that Mhlengi disappeared in the river.
“His friends thought he was bluffing but after spending an hour looking for him they realised that he was nowhere to be found,” said Maqabane.
She said the children ran back home to inform the boy’s family of the incident.
The Daily News discovered that the family of the boy are among the flood victims who relocated to Reservoir Hills after their houses in uMlazi were affected by the flooding in April 2022.
The residents were unhappy with the apartment and the environment but decided to reserve their concerns because they were homeless and desperate for a place to stay, according to the chairperson.
“As much as we needed the government to rescue us from the challenge we faced during the floods, we were not entirely pleased with the place we were relocated to.
“The environment is just horrible. Parents are always on edge because the only playground available in the area is the one next to the river,” added Maqabane.
She said a search and rescue operation was activated on Friday afternoon after the SAPS received reports about the missing boy.
The Daily News contacted the deceased boy’s mother, who declined to comment.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Netshiunda confirmed that Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Port Shepstone rescue teams were continuing the search for the boy.
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