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The Department of Water Sanitation (DWS), together with water services authority, OR Tambo District Municipality (ORTDM) and implementing agent Amatola Water are saddened by an incident that occurred at a construction site of the King Sabata Dalindyebo Presidential Intervention (KSDPI) project at Gxulu Village under the Libode Corridor, which had claimed the lives of three boys, aged between eight and 10 years old.
A delegation comprising of the Department of Water and Sanitation, OR Tambo District Municipality, Amatola Water and Nyandeni Local Municipality, as well as professional consultants and the contractor responsible for the site, arrived at Gxulu Village yesterday afternoon to begin the investigation as well as meet with the deceased’s families.
On preliminary investigation, it appears that the children were playing in the pond that had formed on-site when they experienced difficulty swimming because of mud, and subsequently drowned in the excavated valve manhole.
The one-meter deep excavation was backfilled with sandy material the previous day, which had significantly washed away due to the heavy overnight rains on Tuesday.
The delegation has met with the deceased’s families and extended its heartfelt condolences, offering support throughout the proceedings and funeral arrangements.
All the above-mentioned stakeholders are committed to the highest levels of safety on all the project sites and as such view this incident as a very unfortunate one. This includes proper security of construction sites, amongst others.
They have cautioned communities in areas where the construction of new infrastructure is underway to be very careful and to ensure that children, in particular, are kept away from these developments in order to avoid similar incidents. In addition, a community awareness programme is planned for schools and communities around the construction sites.