Durban — Failure by the eThekwini Municipality to repair a flood-damaged road from 2021 has been fingered in the death of a 2-year-old child in Verulam, north of Durban, on Monday.
Sakhumuzi Dlamini, 2, drowned in a pool of water while playing with his three friends on the side of the road in Cottonlands. His brother, Thandanani Ntuli, said Sakhumuzi’s tragic death would have never happened if the council had repaired the road after it was damaged by floods.
“I blame the municipality for the death of my brother. This could have been avoided. We want justice from them. They must come to us as a family to engage with us,’’ said Ntuli.
According to Ntuli, when the municipality opened the road, they dug up and made holes to draw water away. However, they did not complete the job by filling the hole.
Due to the 2021 floods, the sand covered and closed down the pipes from drawing water away. Since then, there has been a pool of water on the roadside, and it is damaged. Ntuli said.
eThekwini Municipality ward councillor Fakazi Mdletshe said he was aware of the road damaged by floods and did report the matter to the municipality.
“I was aware of that road, but I was not aware of the water pool on the side road.”
Mdletshe also said it was unfortunate that the municipality was blamed by the family for the tragedy because the road was damaged through natural causes.
Police spokesperson Thenjiswa Ngcobo said Verulam police have registered an inquest docket for investigation.
Prem Balram, from Reaction Unit SA, said: “He was examined by medical personnel who confirmed he showed no signs of life. According to residents, the minor was playing with other children when he disappeared.
“A search was conducted, and he was located submerged in water that pooled next to a bridge due to a faulty drainage pipe,” Balram said.
eThekwini spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said: “We need to ascertain if it is a municipal or provincial road. If it is a municipal road we will enquire with our roads department to get a full report (to establish) if they are aware of this road that was damaged by the floods and what are they doing to fix it.”
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