Cousins drown trying to save each other in dam

Nomswenko Malope and cousin Loveness Malope died after drowning in a dam at Masoyi, Hazyview, on Friday.
Nomswenko Malope and cousin Loveness Malope died after drowning in a dam at Masoyi, Hazyview, on Friday.
Image: Supplied

The family of two teen girls who drowned at a dam in Mpumalanga are traumatised by the double tragedy.

Nomswenko Malope, 18, and Loveness Malope, 15, died when they drowned trying to save each other on Friday in Mabulala Dam at Masoyi, Mpumalanga.

According to Loveness's father, Enos Sibashe, the two cousins went to check on their friends who were washing clothes at the dam.

"What we were told is that Loveness slipped into water while standing on a rock while their two friends were washing.

"Nomswenko tried to save her but they both drowned and died. It pained us deeply seeing their lifeless bodies.

"W are still in pain as a family to lose our children in one incident," Sibashe said.

"We are very traumatised; this hurts, I don't even know where to start. What we know is that the two girls whose mothers are sisters, went to look for their friends at their homes.

"They were told that the friends went to do laundry at the dam, and they followed them there." Community members told Sowetan that the dam was notorious for drowning.

"Many lives have been lost in that dam but people have no choice but to use it for washing because of water shortages in the area," said community member Sizwe Shabalala.

Spokesperson of the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, George Mthethwa, said the area was supplied with drinking water through water tanks which were provided at the start of the lockdown.

He warned the public not to risk their lives in the name of not having enough water direct from the dam.

"The issue of water at Masoyi is on the plans. We have been working with water and sanitation and Inkomati Usuthu water catchment.

"We brought water tanks which people should share, especially at this time of Covid-19," Mthethwa said.

"What we can do is call for our people to not use dams risking their lives saying there's no water.

"However, we are sending our deepest condolences to the Malope family and also calling for elders to see to it that young people don't risk their lives in rivers and dams."

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brig Leonard Hlathi said the police have opened an inquest docket.

Hlathi also called for community members to refrain from using dams and rivers for either washing, swimming or for drawing water for home use.

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