Fishermen drown in makeshift boat

Two men drowned at Letlamoreng Dam in the North West while fishing on Thursday. Their bodies were recovered the following morning.
Two men drowned at Letlamoreng Dam in the North West while fishing on Thursday. Their bodies were recovered the following morning.
Image: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Two fishermen drowned while using a makeshift boat on a dam in the North West.

Othusitse Sereko, 35, and Tumelo Motshwaedi, 26, were on a boat made out of a tractor inner tube and strings when they drowned while fishing at Letlamoreng Dam in Mogogoe village, Mahikeng.

Their bodies were recovered 16 hours later.

Lucky Motshwaedi, Tumelo's brother, said his sibling was using the money he made from selling fish to provide for his family.

"He has two children and he used the little money he was getting from selling fish to take care of them," he said.

He said Tumelo left home, as he always did, on Thursday afternoon, but at around 3pm a young boy came running to report that he saw the two fishermen drowning.

"When we arrived there, we could not see them. Later on Tumelo's head showed up, he was standing on his feet while his fellow fisherman was floating on top of the water."

The family said they never thought Tumelo would drown as he could swim.

His aunt Kolia Akompe said she felt weak. "We are shocked, we wonder what happened because he is a good swimmer," she said.

The bodies of the two were only recovered on Friday morning.

Akompe said they somehow had hope the two could still return home alive.

"We are Africans and thought maybe he will come back alive, we did not want the police to take them out yet," Akompe said.

The two have been fishing daily for more than five years.

Other fishermen who were back fishing on Friday expressed sadness on losing their colleagues.

A fisherman who did not want to be named said they were all forced to find ways of making ends meet as they were unemployed.

"This is our life, we provide for our families with the little we get from here."

Another fisherman said they always place a net under water to trap fish overnight.

"On a lucky day I can make R200, sometimes I only go back home with R50," he said.

Their customers were mainly Botswana nationals, he said.

"We do not struggle to sell, people from Botswana cross the border just to buy our fish," he said.

North West police spokesperson Pelonomi Makau confirmed that two inquest dockets were opened.

"Both victims were found dead at the Letlamoreng Dam. It is unknown why the victims drowned and the investigations continue," she said.

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