File picture: Kruger National Park
File picture: Kruger National Park

SAPS divers search for those drowned in Limpopo floods

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Feb 13, 2021

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Pretoria – South African Police Service (SAPS) divers are continuing the search for the bodies of several people who drowned in flooded rivers and dams across Limpopo.

Residents have been warned not to attempt to cross flooded rivers, streams, or dams.

“This warning comes after several people, aged between eight and 73, lost their lives recently, especially young boys, in the Vhembe, Waterberg, Sekhukhune, and Capricorn districts,” Limpopo SAPS spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said in a statement.

“Five drowned people are still missing, including a 14-year-old boy who drowned at Ga-Mochemi village in the Senwabarwana policing area outside Polokwane on [Friday] 12 February 2021. The search operations are still under way.”

Ngoepe said police stations in the province had been inundated with calls from community members whose relatives had been swept away by flood water.

“The SAPS water wing is hard at work to the best of their ability to retrieve all the drowned people across the province, to date since January. The police are worried about these incidents because since the beginning of this rainy period there is an escalating trend throughout the province.

“We are therefore appealing to the public to avoid swimming in or crossing the flooded rivers, streams, and dams. Parents are also warned and urged to take care of their children, especially [now] that schools will be reopening, as many rivers and streams are still full and flowing heavily,” Ngoepe said.

The SAPS also urged community members to “be vigilant and extremely cautious” when crossing low-level bridges, especially where the bridges were under flood water, and not to allow children to swim in dams and rivers unsupervised.

Community members were also urged to avoid making journeys on foot in heavy rain.

“The provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba has called upon all community structures, including the tribal authorities and members of the community in general, to work with the police in preventing these type of incidents,” said Ngoepe.

African News Agency (ANA)

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