Mayor to fund pit-toilet funeral

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Bushbuckridge executive mayor Milton Morema has sent a delegation to meet and console the families of two children who drowned in a faeces-filled toilet at school last week.

Morema said yesterday that the delegation would assess the families' needs regarding funeral arrangements and said the municipality was ready to help in any possible way.

The delegation, led by Lessy Nzimande, a member of the Bushbuckridge mayoral committee, has already visited the families on several occasions since the incident happened on Thursday last week.

Eight Grade 1 pupils at the Hlalakahle Primary School near Manyeleti Game Reserve were relieving themselves in the pit toilet when its slab let go at about 10am.

Two girls, aged five, lost their lives after drowning deep in the toilet. Six other pupils were rushed to Tintswalo Hospital in Acornhoek.

Five of them were treated and discharged while six-year-old Movement Mathebula is still recovering from a fractured left leg.

"The two girls had disappeared deep in the faeces and it was very difficult to save them. By the time they were found they were already dead," said William Ngwenya, a grandfather to one of the deceased girls, Devotion Masinga.

The other dead victim was identified as Dimpho Ngobeni.

Meanwhile, the Mpumalanga education department is conducting a high-profile investigation into the incident.

Department spokesman Hlahla Ngwenya said the regional education department's head, David Mthembu, was expected to personally deliver a report to superintendent-general of education Monwabisi Tywakadi yesterday.

"The report will obviously form the basis of our high-profile investigation into the tragedy," said Ngwenya.

The incident is not the first in the Bushbuckridge area.

A grandmother and four teenaged girls nearly drowned in an old pit toilet after the slab gave in at a high school in Agincourt early last year.