The community of Ramagari in Thaba Nchu is up in arms about several open waterholes in the area after one of these claimed the life of a toddler. Four-year-old Simphiwe Qwema died on Friday after he had fallen into a hole filled with water while he and his friends were playing nearby.
Police spokesperson Martin Xuma said a resident, Dikeledi Mokeki, heard the kids screaming and rushed there. It is alleged that the toddler got stuck in the mud and then drowned.
Resident Motlalepule Tsikare said the community is very unhappy. She said numerous requests that the holes should be filled up have been ignored.
EFF’s provincial secretary in the Free State, Mandisa Makesini, went to visit the family of the toddler. She said they did an inspection of the whole ward and found at least 10 of these open holes in the residential area. “This is very dangerous for kids and we are going to ask that the Mangaung Municipality address the issue as a matter of urgency,” she said.
Simphiwe’s grandmother, Joyce Qwema, said her grandchild was loved by everyone and he was very clever. She said she spoke to some of his friends who were with him at the time of the incident. They said that one of the kids pushed Simphiwe and he fell into the water.” She said she is not blaming anyone.“How could we blame kids? They are just kids. We cannot judge or convict,” said a very sad Joyce.
She said she just wanted to thank the brave woman who jumped in and tried to save him. “The woman said she could not see the toddler in the water, but noticed his floating shoe. She then just blindly jumped in and started searching for him. She then pulled him out,” said Joyce.
Her grandson was totally covered in mud. Xuma said the toddler was declared dead on the scene. As family members and volunteers were busy preparing for Simphiwe’s funeral, they remembered this friendly boy who would have turned five on Tuesday. – Cathy Dlodlo