South Africa: Man Who Wanted to Speak to His Ancestors Goes Missing and Had to Be Rescued

press release

Members of the South African Police Service Search and Rescue Team yesterday, Friday 06 December 2019, played a pivotal role in rescuing a man who was, for a week trapped on the Sambandou mountains in Tshaulu policing area outside Thohoyandou.

The Traditional Healer from Haluvhimbi location, Mpfunzeni Solomon Ramashia aged 53, was reported missing at the Thohoyandou police station on Monday 02 December 2019. This after he and his friend Moris Sambo aged 47 had on Sunday 01 December 2019, gone to Mphaphuli Nature Reserve (Sambandou) mountains to look for the traditional herbs. The two became separated after the victim allegedly told his friend that he wanted to speak to his ancestors alone. His friend managed to return home.

On Wednesday, 04 December 2019, a team that comprised of the SAPS Search and Rescue, the K9, Public Order Police, the Airwing, EMS Search and Rescue and Community members, led by the victim's friend, conducted a joint search operation in the identified area. The search continued on Thursday and his fainting screams were then heard down the mountain. A police helicopter was then summoned and the bad weather in the area impeded the operation.

The clearly exhausted victim, who apparently fell and was trapped in tree branches could only be rescued by the team on Friday, five days after he went missing. He was then taken to hospital where he is recuperating.

The Provincial Commissioner of Limpopo Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has commended the team for succeeding in rescuing the man to prevent the worst from happening.

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