authorities blamed

THE family of two children who died when water flooded their house after an Umgeni Water pipe burst outside Pinetown blames the company for the deaths.

THE family of two children who died when water flooded their house after an Umgeni Water pipe burst outside Pinetown blames the company for the deaths.

Nokwazi, 3, and eight-month-old Mhlengi Hlongwane were asleep in a rondavel house in Lower Molweni while their granny Zandile Hlongwane, was watching television when the incident happened on Friday night.

Their three-year-old cousin Nqubeko miraculously survived the flood.

Nine homesteads were damaged when the water pipe burst during the night.

All the affected families have since been accommodated in a community hall. They go to their homes during the day since they are trying to rebuild their houses.

The local municipality is assisting them at the temporary shelter.

When Sowetan visited the grieving family yesterday shocked relatives were stillmourning the untimely death of the innocent children.

Hlongwane, 50, said they had notified the Umgeni Water authorities about the leaking pipe two hours before the incident.

"When we realised the pipe was leaking we notified our neighbour who works for the company. He promised to alert the company.

"Our councillor, who was also notified, apparently called them and was told that it was a minor problem that would be attended to later," she said.

Hlongwane said the children had been fast asleep and she was watching the news on television when she heard a "big bang".

'The thunderous bang sounded as if someone had thrown a huge rock on the roof of the house," she said.

"And in the wink of an eye everything went blank. Moments later the house was falling. I picked the children up and tried to run for safety.

"But I could not make it.

"As I stepped outside the heavy current washed me away and I became unconscious. When I was resuscitated, the children had been swept away."

Mhlengi was found caught up in some trees. He died on the way to hospital.

Nokwazi was found the following day just after 11am.

"It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my entire life,"Hlongwe said.

"But I am certain the children would not be dead and our homes could have been saved had the company responded quickly."

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