Village canal a death trap
THE canal was supposed to benefit emerging farmers in North West as it channels water from the Vaal River in Warrenton to Taung.
But the 30km canal that many villagers in the province, including the Greater Taung municipality, depend on for their water needs, has allegedly turned into a death trap.
On Saturday, two five-year-old children, who were allegedly swimming without the knowledge of their parents, drowned. Their bodies were found some distance away.
The next day, the body of a 72-year-old woman was discovered, exactly at the spot where the two children were found.
Taung police say a number of people, as well as dogs, donkeys and cows, have died in the past five years after being swallowed by the fast-flowing canal.
But the people responsible for maintaining the canal claim they are not aware that people and animals have been swallowed by the canal.
Hugo van Wyk of Vaalharps, the company responsible for the canal, said: "We are not aware that people are dying in the area because no one has told us anything about the deaths. What you are saying is news to me."
But Taung police station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Mothusiemang Kgwanyape confirmed the deaths of the three over the weekend.
On Saturday, little Kutlo Morwe and his friend, Reotshepile Selaolo, both Grade R pupils at Seile Primary School in Taung, died while swimming in the unprotected canal.
Morwe's mother, Kgotsilekhumo, said her child was asleep around 7am when Selaolo arrived at her house to play.
"I told him to go back home as it was still early but he waited until Kutlo woke up and they went out to play," she said.
She said at around 12pm, a neighbour's child came to inform her that Morwe and Selaolo, who had allegedly been swimming in the canal, had disappeared.
"I rushed to the canal where I found their clothes but the two boys were nowhere to be found," she said.
A search was then started. She said the boys' bodies were found about five kilometres away.
Reotshepile's mom, Bonolo Selaolo, said she was struggling to come to terms with her son's death.
"This was his first year in school. I can't believe he died just three days after being enrolled," she said.
Meanwhile, the family of Maria Mogongwa, the elderly woman whose body was found floating in the same canal the day after the death of the two young boys, has asked the the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs to "intervene and fence the killer canal".
"We are shocked that our relative is yet another statistic of this dangerous canal. We are also angry that after all these years, the authorities have still not fenced off the dangerous canal," said Mogongwa's daughter, Maria.
It is not clear how Mogongwa ended up in the canal. Police are still to determine the exact cause of her death.
Her family said they last saw her on Friday when she went to collect her pension. Her body was found floating in the canal a day later by a cattle header who blew the whistle.