Unsafe dam claims four lives


AN EMPANGENI mother is inconsolable after the loss of her three children who were swallowed up along with their friend in the murky waters of the Msweli Dam in Kwambonambi. Ten-year-old twin brothers Ayathoba and Ayabonga Mthembu drowned while trying to save their brother Qiniso Mchunu, five, who was experiencing difficulty while swimming in the local dam.

The siblings together with their neighbour Asanda Dube, 13, and two other children had gone for a dip in the dam 2k away about midday on Monday. Tragedy struck when Qiniso went for a swim and began to struggle. Ward 7 councillor in Umfolozi Thama Khumalo said the five-year-old’s brother then jumped in to save him. “He also began to experience difficulties and that is when his twin brother jumped in as well to try to save them both,” Khumalo said.

Seeing his friends drowning Asanda then followed to assist and was then followed by another child who survived the incident. “One of the children did not go in and according to his family he came home and was mute and wouldn’t speak. “They were alerted to the drowning by the child who managed to swim to safety. The other boy was just too traumatised to speak,” Khumalo said. Immediately, NSRI Richards Bay duty crew were activated to assist other emergency services with the rescue.

The NSRI spokesperson Norman Rautenbach said the bodies were recovered before 4pm. The deceased’s aunt, Nosenzeni Skhakhane-Ngema, said the mother of the siblings, Sizakele Mahaye, was in shock from the triple tragedy. “She had to be taken to the clinic when she found out,” the aunt said. Khumalo said at least seven people have been killed while swimming in the Msweli Dam.