Rumours swirl after missing boys found dead in swimming pool

Published Mar 9, 2019


Mahikeng - The circumstances surrounding the death of two Mahikeng boys who drowned in a swimming pool at Imperial Reserve, Mahikeng, has left community members "baffled" and police urging residents to resist rumour-mongering.  

Cousins Onalenna Molehabangwe and Gontse Cholo, both aged 10, were found floating in the swimming pool of a neglected home -  allegedly rented to foreign national - in Imperial Reserve on Thursday night. 

They went missing on Tuesday while playing at a park in Montshiwa. 

It was initially suspected the boys may have been kidnapped after another child said that they were lured to a car, grabbed and bundled into the boot by unknown persons, who then sped off. 

A search was launched and their corpses were discovered in the pool on Thursday night by a group of police and residents. 

Sergeant Lesedi Dingoko said postmortem results indicated that the cause of death for both boys was drowning.

"There are no injuries, there are no missing body parts. Their bodies are intact, they died due to drowning."

He said they were following leads when they made the gruesome discovery.

"After we launched the search, we interviewed whoever we met while searching. We were following leads that the children used to swim at the pool and found them as a result,"  he said.

He said the investigation into allegations that the boys were kidnapped would continue. 

The house where the bodies were found has a high wall and the gates were locked. Where there was no wall, high fencing was in place. One small gate looked like it had been locked but was forced open. The yard was neglected. 

According to locals, the house was rented to foreign nationals who mostly arrived home late at night.

Police had to guard the place after residents threatened to torch it on Thursday night.

According to Dimakatso Cholo, mother of Gontse, the boys were identified by their clothing. 

"Their faces are swollen, it is difficult to identify them,"  she said. News that her second born had died was "devastating", said Cholo.  

"I had hoped to find him alive. I am numbed. The period that he went missing until he was found, I did not sleep. He spent time with me on Tuesday after school. It was as if he knew he would never come home.  He went out to play and when he did not come home to bath, I went out to look for him. It was then that I heard that he was kidnapped by four men and two women." 

Both of the boys were described as strong swimmers. 

North West premier Job Mokgoro and community safety MEC Mpho Motlhabane dismissed speculation that the bodies were mutilated.

Motlhabane said the family and medical responders had confirmed that the corpses were intact.

He told the community that the case had been moved from the Mahikeng police and was to be handled by the cluster commander.

North West police urged community members via a statement to refrain from spreading rumours on social media.

"The bodies that were discovered in a swimming pool at Imperial Reserve yesterday, 7 March 2019, were not mutilated as indicated on social media. Further to that, the police searched a number of places while looking for these children," read the statement. 

"However, the first places that were searched are not in any way linked to the one where the bodies were found. The police are investigating the case and would like to urge the community to remain calm and give the police an opportunity to do a thorough investigation into the matter." 

An inquest docket was opened for investigation.

Residents told Mokgoro and Motlhabane that they wanted the house to be demolished and all foreign nationals renting in the area to leave.

"Please do something about that house before the community decides otherwise. There are houses that are not occupied in this area, please do something," one man said.

Several community members told African News Agency they believed the boys were killed at another location and dumped in the swimming pool.

African News Agency (ANA)

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