File picture: Moises Castillo/AP

Johannesburg - As the weather is getting hotter, Alexandra kids after school usually pass by the river to take a splash to ward off the heat, but on Tuesday afternoon it was not their lucky day as they had to witness their friend, 12-year-old, Thulani Moloi sink underneath. 

They screamed and passers-by tried to help. They were two of them facing danger and Thulani could not survive. They say as they look clearly, something was drawing Thulani to the deep end, allegedly a snake. 

Water rescue team was called and after a two hour search Thulani was found already dead. Rescue team wrapped him in a body bag and left for the pathologists to come and take him. While waiting for the pathologists, community members who were at the scene said they saw a big snake jumping out of the river trying to snatch Thulani. They screamed and the beast jumped back to the river.

Even Thulani's mother, who was called to identify her son and was among the crowd said she saw the snake. "I could not believe my eyes and wondered why my boy would go that way," said a distraught mother, Primrose Moloi. 

However, the official response from the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services stated that the boy was drowned. "There will always be those rumours as we know in our culture rivers are associated with snakes. The same thing happened in Diepsloot," said the spokesperson, Robert Mulaudzi. He said they are intensifying their campaign around how to stay safe during this summer and the festive season.

Meanwhile the community was outraged and lashed the authorities for not taking any action to fix the local swimming pool. 

They say will this will prevent kids from swimming in the river water which is dirty and not healthy. It is now a year since they were told the pool's pump was broken. To date it hasn't been fixed. 

"I've engaged city officials on this several time and they told me there is no budget," said Teffo Raphadu, a local councillor who also appeals for the donations to help the family to bury their love one in Zimbabwe.

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