THE mother of a 20-year-old Umlazi man who plunged off a cliff on Wednesday night had to be dragged away from the river banks after police called off the search for his body.
Bongi Motha, a construction worker employed at the new King Shaka International Airport, fell from a 40-metre cliff into the Umlazi River in KwaZulu-Natal after a scuffle with a friend.
The police rescue team called off the search yesterday after battling for hours to find Motha, who they suspect might have drowned in the 60-metre deep river. Two expert drivers and a sniffer dog could not trace Motha.
Nonhlanhla Motha, Bongi's mother,spent the night on the river bank waiting for her son. "I know he was pushed," she sobbed.
Motha said she did not believe laying a charge would bring back her son.
"I raised him so hard, how could this happen to me," she cried in anguish.
Talent Dlamini, 23, also plunged down the cliff with Motha, but managed to claw his way back to safety.
Speaking from his bed at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital, Dlamini said he believed that Bongi Motha was still alive.
"We were on our way from the shebeen after watching a soccer match.
"We did have a couple of drinks but we were not drunk. We started fighting. I can't even remember what it was about. Then we both fell over the cliff, but I managed to come up."
Captain Troy Alison, who headed the search-and-rescue team, said they would make daily checks for Motha's body.
"We searched the area and could not find him. He may have drowned or he may have come up and is hiding."
Police spokesperson Vincent Mdunge said the police were investigating.
"If he is confirmed dead we will open a case of murder against the survivor. On the other hand, if the court deems it fit an inquest will be enforced."