Mystery flood baby still not identified

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The mystery around the 20-day-old baby who was washed away during the floods in Soweto on Thursday is deepening with authorities keeping mum about who she is.

The baby and two other people - a cyclist and a taxi driver - went missing during flooding in Mofolo, Meadowlands, Braamfischerville and Dobsonville townships.

Yesterday, it was unclear how the authorities got to know about the baby. Two girls, aged 13 and six, were killed. More than 40 people were injured while 200 families were left destitute by the flash floods.

When Sowetan visited the disaster areas yesterday there was speculation that the baby was washed away in Meadowlands and not in Mofolo as earlier reported.

"The woman got off a taxi in Zone 9 Meadowlands. The baby was on her back and must have fallen off," said a woman who did not want to be named.

Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesperson Percy Morokane said: "According to the information we received the baby was washed away in Mofolo. We have handed the matter to the police and a missing person's docket has been opened."

He said they had handed over the search to the police. "It is now a police matter and they will continue the search."

But Soweto police told Sowetan that they had been on alert all weekend and no dockets regarding the missing baby had been opened. Meadowlands police spokesperson Captain Lindiwe Mbatha said: "We have not had a missing person's case opened in Meadowlands and at Orlando police stations. We only know of the 13-year-old girl who was found a few hours after she was reported missing on Thursday."

Moroka police spokesperson Captain Mpande Khoza said: "We do not have any missing person's case that was opened."

Meanwhile, the search for the three continued yesterday.

Gauteng police spokesperson Superintendent Eugene Opperman said: "We have not found the missing people yet. We are still where we were on Thursday."

People were still trying to clean up the mess. Rachel Zulu's house was still flooded when we visited her home.

Zulu, 71, said: "I thought we were going to die. I have never seen anything like this. We are glad we are still alive. We lost some of our goods but there is nothing we can do."