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Search continues for body of drowned Mt Fletcher learner

Mar 11, 2019
Search continues for body of drowned Mt Fletcher learner

A search for the body of a Mt Fletcher learner continued on Monday after a community search late on Friday afternoon resulted in the recovery of the body of another missing child.

"She was identified as Boitumelo Lebenya (8 years old)," said police spokesperson, Capt Khaya Tonjeni.

He said that the search continued on Saturday for the last missing body without any luck until it was cancelled at about 3pm on Saturday due to increasing water levels because of continuous rain.

"The search has been called off to allow water to subside. Search is continuing on Monday."

Six children, aged between 6 and 8 years old, were reportedly swept away whilst crossing the Freyistata River on their way home after school on Thursday.

"Search and Rescue K9 members from Mthatha and Elliot attended to the scene while other roleplayers like Mt Fletcher SAPS, LCRC, EMS and Forensic Pathology also responded to the scene," described Capt Tonjeni.

"Four of the deceased were recovered while extra Search and Rescue K9 personnel arrived on scene to beef up the rescue mission.

"Two victims have not yet been found but the search was called off for safety reasons and considerations."

The following drowning victims were recovered the same day:

  • Sinekhaya Mfolozi (male) 7 years old
  • Sixolile Ndleleni (male) 7years
  • Elomso Ntsimbi (female) 8years
  • Hlalanathi Mbuleka (male) 6 years old

Missing were:

  • 5. Boitumelo Lebenya (male) 8 years
  • 6. Masixole Molekoa (male) 6 years

"All the children were from the same locality," he said.

EFF demands from the ANC-led Eastern Cape provincial government

On Friday, EFF Eastern Cape MP, Yoliswa Yako, expressed the party's disappointment that the tragedy could happen in the first place.

“We demand to know why in 2019, young children are not able to go to schools closer home.

“We demand to know why, in 2019, there is no adequate infrastructure to accommodate for transportation of young children to and from their school,” Yako said.

She asked; "How long has the community of Matatiele called for a bridge to be built over the river? Their cries have fallen on deaf ears.

“Just the other day, we listened the MEC of Finance as he meandered on, about the budget allocation.

“That in 2019, we are talking of allocation funds to infrastructure and eradicating pit toilets in schools when our children should have been talking of the fourth industrial revolution, is an unexplainable failure of the ANC government. That we should have funds allocated to education and all it encompassed including the safety of young children, being looted is unacceptable!

“We demand that the municipality account for where the budget for the river has gone to, and why our people have been lied to for this long.

“We wish to pay our deepest condolences to the families of the departed little ones. May their souls rest in peace."

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