Herman Mashaba to provide lawyers to families whose children drowned in Hammanskraal
Pretoria - Action SA leader and former mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba will provide families whose children drowned in open trenches with lawyers to hold the City of Tshwane and its contractor responsible for their deaths.
The Hammanskraal descendent made the announcement yesterday after he was called by community leaders to help the families who lost a total of four boys just two weeks ago when they drowned in trenches that remained open for months.
Mashaba and his colleague and former mayoral member in the City of Tshwane, Abel Tau, had to comfort an emotional Johanna Maphoso who burst into tears crying for justice for her son Samule Maphoso, 10.
Maphoso said reports that the boys were even swimming were nothing but lies because they inspected the area around the trench and did not see any footsteps to indicate that the boys went there to swim, and there were no clothes to show that they took their clothes off.
She said she rushed to the scene and even tried to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) but she was stopped by paramedics who did not do anything and said they did not have a battery for equipment to try and save the children, they also did not rush them to hospital.
Mashaba said Action SA would use its legal team to execute a mandate given to him by the families to sue the City of Tshwane and the contractor for negligence and have them face criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.
He said he received an invite to come to Temba, Hammanskraal on Sunday after the deaths of the children who are said to have died as a result of the negligence of a contractor and the City of Tshwane.
"This is really an easy case, a case of negligence by the City of Tshwane and negligence by the contractor assigned to do a job.
"As a South African I am not prepared to let our government do this to our communities 26 years into our democracy.
"The families have given me the mandate to get them the best legal intervention to make sure that criminal charges are laid against the City of Tshwane and the contractor, including civil claims," said Mashaba.
Maphoso said the parents wanted justice for their children, Kutlwano Mkhwanazi, 9, Tshepo Machete, 10, and Samuel Maphoso, 10 who lost their lives in the trenches that were left open since early this year.
Tshiamo Hleza, 9, would also drown in a different trench two days later when he and his friend slipped and fell inside the trench while they were washing their hands.
His friend was rescued by an adult who heard the screams, but couldn't reach Tshiamo Hleza who was trapped in mud.
Officials from the City and the contractor have visited the families to offer their condolences and assistance.