Thu Oct 27 09:03:19 SAST 2016

It's not our fault, says municipality

By unknown | Jul 22, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ntwaagae Seleka and Tebogo Monama

Ntwaagae Seleka and Tebogo Monama

The family of a toddler who drowned in a sewer is blaming the municipality for not ensuring that manholes are always covered.

But the municipality says it can't keep up with the thieves who steal the metal for scrap.

Even the manhole cover that was used to close the opening that little Delano Goeiman, three, was pushed into on Sunday, has already collapsed.

"The lid was a temporary measure but someone stole the steel ring around it," municipality spokesman Zweli Dlamini said.

He said the biggest problem "is that people steal sewer lids and sell them to scrap dealers".

"We try and monitor manholes regularly," he said. "Most of the priority areas are places where we have a problem with the stealing of lids.

"Residential areas where main sewer lines run are also a priority."

Dlamini said the council was unaware of the fact that there were three uncovered manholes in the Ramaphosa informal settlement.

By yesterday the lid that officials placed on the hole Delano had fallen into had collapsed because of the stolen ring and the other two manholes were not covered either.

Delano's body was recovered yesterday from the Kliprivier sewer, 30km from where he fell into a manhole on Sunday, allegedly after being pushed in by a playmate.

This is not the first time that a child has died because of uncovered manholes. In 2004 Karabo Gwala, four, of Dube in Soweto, died after accidentally falling into an exposed manhole while playing with a friend.

His body was found three days later at the Olifantsvlei treatment plant in Nancefield after being dragged through the sewage system to a spot 10km from where he had fallen in.

Delano's grandmother, Sophia Femmer, 47, said: "Those manholes have long been standing there uncovered, waiting for a tragedy to happen. Even had it not been Delano any child or person could have fallen into the manhole.

"Our municipality is a failure," she said.


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