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Families mourn drowning victims


The bridges that the men had fallen off were the only thoroughfare that they could use to make their way through the area.

Picture: Danie van der Lith/ANA

THE FAMILIES of the two men who drowned on the weekend yesterday indicated that the bridges that the men had fallen off were the only thoroughfare that they could use to make their way through the area.

Relatives of James Kabelo Koluku, 42, added that the bridge was extremely slippery and that, as far as they could remember, there were never any handrails on the structure.

“If it rains the area becomes flooded with stormwater mixed with sewage. The drainage is not up to standard. This is not the first time that someone has drowned in these canals – a child drowned in the same canal, yet nothing is being done to prevent these unnecessary deaths.”

Lerato Mosamini stated that her brother Koluku, who was employed at the ABC municipal cemetery, was trying to make his way home to Reuben Mcetywa Street after visiting his mother in Riemvasmaak informal settlement on Sunday.

“At that time it was raining heavily. He crossed the bridge every day on his way to work or to visit his mother. He was a very humble and unselfish person who was always joking and would never hesitate to help someone.”

Koluku’s life partner, Jo-anne Stigling, stated that Koluku had provided financially for her and his family.

“He was the breadwinner for his father, mother, sister as well as his 22-year-old daughter. He also helped to raise my son since he was two years old.”

Stigling added that she knew something was wrong when a resident came running to her house to inform her that they had seen Koluku falling off the bridge.

“I waited in anguish until it was confirmed that he had drowned. He cannot swim.”

Gomolemo Jood broke down when she recounted the shock upon learning of her 45-year-old brother’s death.

“Ashley Mogorosi was my eldest brother, whom I always looked up to, no matter what. We were very close.”

She explained that Mogorosi had left the house at about lunchtime on Sunday to go to church.

“He attends the Zion Christian Church. A boy came to the house to inform us that he had drowned when he fell into the ditch in Magodu Street. I went to check inside his bedroom and saw his church uniform in his room and told the boy that it could not possibly be my brother. I later realised that it could be him as the boy had described him wearing the khaki pants that he had dressed in that morning. Another person came to tell us that they had found my brother lying in the veld. My mother went to the scene where his body was found and confirmed his identity.”