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Reparations ‘could heal’ bereaved families of two boys who drowned in Mamelodi quarry

Two children drowned in this quarry at Skierlik Mountain View informal settlement in Mamelodi. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Two children drowned in this quarry at Skierlik Mountain View informal settlement in Mamelodi. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 13, 2022

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Pretoria - The Gauteng Department of Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure must, among other things, facilitate possible restorative remedy for the families of Siyabonga Mabila, 7, and Lawrence Tshwenu, 4, who drowned in Mamelodi last year.

The two children drowned in a quarry at Skierlik Mountain View informal settlement along the K54 road, which formed part of the N4 highway extension project.

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In a report of an investigation by ActionSA, it was acknowledged that while nothing could bring the children back, a restorative process would go a long way towards healing the Mabila and Tshwenu families.

Resultantly, the report recommends that the City of Tshwane, King Civil Engineering, GMH Tswelelo and the department offer reparations to the two bereaved families.

ActionSA spokesperson Lerato Ngobeni said: “Soon after receiving the update from our legal team from Mkhabela Huntley Attorneys, our team, led by Councillor Abel Tau, who is the Tshwane Housing MMC, visited the families to relay this good news to them.

“Both the Mabila and Tshwenu families were elated that finally they could find some closure.

“Importantly, those whose negligence is responsible for the events that led to the deaths of their young children are being held accountable.

“We will continue to monitor this process until the families receive what is due to them.

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“Similarly, we are encouraged that this outcome will bode well for the families of three young boys, Samuel Maphosa, 10, Kutlwano Mkhwanazi, 9, and Tshepo Machete, 10, who also drowned in an unattended stormwater trench in Hammanskraal in November 2020.”

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba and Tshwane MMC for Human Settlements Mpho Mehlape-Zimu, said negligence had caused the tragedy.

MEC for Public Transport and Roads Jacob Mamabolo then appointed Advocate Thomas Bokaba to investigate and establish whether there was any negligence on the part of the department and the contractor.

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The report found that the issues around the February incident were complex, vast and multi-layered.

“They range from social factors, contractual matters, inter-governmental relations and human factors, including actions and inaction.”

The report noted that the tragedy could not be attributed to a single act or omission.

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Mamabolo said he hoped the report would give the boys’ families answers.

“In line with the principles of transparency and openness, we welcome the report as we believe that the families should always be assisted – to find answers and not be left without any support or unanswered questions.

“Furthermore, we are extremely grateful to the team which conducted the investigation. The team has assured us that it engaged extensively with the families and presented the report to them.”

Pretoria News

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