The illegal mining hole in which three young boys drowned. Photo: Limpopo police
POLOKWANE – Police in Mecklenburg have opened an inquest docket following the drowning of three children in an abandoned illegal mine hole. The three boys, between the ages of 7 and 9-years-old had gone to play in the area on Sunday morning 21 April.
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Police spokesperson, Captain Mamphaswa Seabi explains that the children’s parents became suspicious when they had not returned later that afternoon and were nowhere to be found. Having searched the area they then proceeded to the illegal mine hole, which was filled with water due to recent rains in the area. On arrival, they were met by the sight of their children’s clothes and anticipated that the worst might have happened.
“The matter was reported to the police and members from the Provincial Search and Rescue and the K9 Unit were summoned to the scene. The three bodies were later retrieved from the water. They were identified as the Ramabala siblings, Machaba (8) and Itumeleng (9) as well as their friend Pabalelo Mokgethwa (7). The siblings were Grade 4 learners at Ramoko Primary School and their friend was a Grade 2 learner at Mmalegaswi Primary School. All the deceased are from the Phashaskraal village, outside Burgersfort,” Seabi explained.
He added that earlier in the week, an 11-year-old boy’s lifeless body was recovered from the Revhumbwe river in Malamulela.
The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba says he is concerned about the loss of young lives and has urged parents to look after their children. The General concluded by warning communities to desist from engaging in illegal mining by digging up holes and leaving them unclosed as this poses a hazardous environment to people, especially children.