search halted

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

On New Year's Eve Shadi Kgaladi was swept away by strong currents in the Kaalrivier.

Yesterday police and emergency personnel called off a massive search for her body.

"We have done all we can," police spokesman Eugene Opperman said. "We have not been successful.

"The best that could happen now is for it it to rain because if it does strong currents could help dislodge her from the sand or reeds and get the body to float."

The suspension of the search has brought despair to the missing woman's family.

"We had hoped she would be found today . it is her birthday," her aunt Elizabeth Monageng said.

"It was painful for us to see the search ending without her body being found."

The intensive search yesterday was conducted by police officers with sniffer dogs, a helicopter, five divers, firefighters and Ekurhuleni metro police.

The family of the 34-year-old Kgaladi sat under a tree at a nearby house - hoping the police would be successful in their bid to retrieve her body.

A total of 19km of the river was covered yesterday.

The search team worked in three groups - taking turns to rest in a tent erected on the river bank.

After six hours of searching the teams came back to the camp site - but the family asked them to search at the spots three sangomas had recently pointed out.

An hour later the search team came back empty-handed.

Kgaladi's husband David Letlere had paid R3500 to three sangomas from Nelspruit in a desperate bid to discover his wife's body.

"We had hoped to find my niece today because it was her birthday but we are never going to loose hope," said Elizabeth Monageng, Shadi's aunt.

Kgaladi and her three-year-old niece, Nomvuyo Monageng, were washed away by a flash flood on New Year's Eve in Ivory Park, near Midrand

Nomvuyo's body was found on Friday, a kilometre from where the two were swept away.