South Africa: Siblings and Another Child Perish in an Illegal Mine

press release

The Police in Mecklenburg have opened an inquest case after three children drowned in an abandoned illegal mine. The three boys aged between 7 and 9, had yesterday, 21 April 2019, at about 10:00 gone to play in the area.

The parents became suspicious when, at about 17:00, the children had not returned and were nowhere to be found. They searched the area and proceeded to the illegal mine hole which was filled with water due to the recent rains that fell in the area. On arrival, they were met by the sight of their children's clothes next to the "dam" and started anticipating that the worst might have happened.

The matter was reported to the local police and members from the Provincial Search and Rescue and the K9 Unit were summoned to the scene. The three bodies were later retrieved from the water. They were identified as the Ramabala siblings, Machaba aged 8 and Itumeleng aged 9 as well as their friend Pabalelo Mokgethwa aged 7. The siblings were Grade 4 learners at Ramoko Primary School and their friend was a Grade 2 learner at Mmalegaswi Primary School. All deceased are from Phashaskraal village outside Burgersfort.

In a separate incident earlier this week, an 11-year-old boy's lifeless body was recovered from Revhumbwe River in Malamulela policing area, Giyani Cluster.

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba is concerned about the loss of these young lives and has urged parents to look after their children and strongly caution them against swimming in water filled holes. The General concluded by warning communities to desist from engaging in illegal mining by digging up holes and leaving them unclosed as this poses a hazardous environment to people, especially children.

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