Two males drown during a traditional ritual

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An inquest docket has been registered following the retrieval of the lifeless bodies of two men from Sand River (Tikwe) on Saturday, 16 December 2017 between 08:00 and 10:00 in the morning.

It is alleged that on Friday 15 December 2017 at about 18:00 a group of people from Thabong in Welkom went to the river where a traditional healing ritual was to be performed inside the river.  It was reported that seven people walked into the river, but two of them were caught off-guard by the depth of the river and drowned.

Bodies retrieved from the river by police divers, Sgt Liau Ramateletsi, WO Hollie Holtshauzen and Capt Conrad Coetzee.

SAPS divers attended the scene on Saturday morning in searched of the two bodies. The first body of an 18 year-old man was found not far from where they drowned. The second body, that of a sangoma aged 27, was found several metres from the drowning spot. It was already floating on top of the water. Both were certified dead on the scene and taken to the Welkom state mortuary.

The acting station commander of Virginia, Lt Col Thabo Coobi, warned community members to be aware of the dangers of rivers. “The most important rule is that everyone should respect water and the surrounding environments.  People should refrain from using the river if they cannot swim, especially if there are no lifesavers around in case of drownings,” said Coobi.

Issued by: Thabong Corporate Communication