Home News Drowning was ’no accident’

Drowning was ’no accident’


The parents of seven-year-old Lethabo Sanele Louw, who drowned in a water-filled pit on the outskirts of De Aar, are convinced that his death was no accident and want the police to investigate whether he was murdered.

Members of the police’s search and rescue team retrieved the body of Lethabo Louw, 7, from a water-filled pit on the outskirts of De Aar. Picture: Supplied

THE PARENTS of seven-year-old Lethabo Sanele Louw, who drowned in a water-filled pit on the outskirts of De Aar, are convinced that his death was no accident and want the police to investigate whether he was murdered.

Andisa Louw said that while she buried her youngest child this week, she would not rest until she knew the exact circumstances surrounding his death.

“I am convinced that my son was pushed into the pit. He cannot swim and it was cold that day. He left the house to catch mice near the dam. The three friends that accompanied him on June 5 never reported him as missing because, apparently, they were scared. It is believed that they were instructed not to say anything.”

She added that Lethabo visited his grandmother on the day of his death.

“I was under the impression that Lethabo had spent the night at his father’s house, as he often did. The police only started searching for him the following day. I became worried because he never arrived at school on June 6.

“His body was found three days later. There is a chance that he could have still been alive if the search for him had started earlier.”

Louw found it strange that the shoe laces of Lethabo’s sneakers had been removed when they were discovered near the dam.

“He never takes his shoe laces off, even when I tell him to take them off so that I can wash his takkies.”

Lethabo’s father, Thapelo Marcus Mothlaping, was also not convinced that his son had died of natural causes.

“The police found his All-Star takkies about five metres from his clothes. It was winter, so why would he want to swim? I can see the dam from my house at the Malay camp.

“Nothing makes sense. There was no water in Lethabo’s lungs or stomach although he was under water for three days. His body never floated to the surface. Surely if he drowned his body would have been bloated.

“He was also foaming at the mouth when his body was retrieved. I cannot accept that it was just a drowning and suspect that there was foul play involved.”

Mothlaping added that he intended to take legal action against the municipality for not fencing off the area but was informed there was a dispute over who owned the land.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Sergio Kock said the De Aar police have opened an inquest into the death, after the boy was reported missing on June 6 at about midnight.

“It was later discovered that the boy and some friends went for a swim in a nearby water hole. The body of the deceased was retrieved by the police search and rescue team on June 7 at about midday. The investigation continues.’

DA councillor Ridwaan Smith, at Emthanjeni Municipality, stated that the incident had devastated the boy’s parents, angered community members and shone the spotlight on the municipality’s ongoing failure to address the water hazard.

“The dam seems to have been formed over what was once an illegal dump site, which has subsequently become a dangerous swimming hole for children, in close vicinity of a community residing on the outskirts of the town.”

He indicated that the area had not been cordoned off following the drowning.

“The death of one child due to this so-called dam is one death too many. This death could have been prevented and any future deaths must be prevented.

“The causes of this growing water hole must be established so that prompt and efficient solutions can be implemented to dry it up, or permanently fence it off.”

Bo-Karoo DA constituency head Fawzia Rhoda requested the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Bentley Vass, to investigate criminal negligence on the part of the municipality.

Emthanjeni Municipality indicated that it was not aware of the drowning incident.

Lethabo Sanele Louw, 7. Picture: Facebook
The water-filled pit where the body of Lethabo Louw was retrieved three days after he went missing. Picture: Supplied
Clothes and shoes belonging to the young boy were found. Picture: Supplied

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