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Municipality blamed for drowning


"The council and management sends its deepest, heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased”

NO WARNING: The hole where the woman drowned is about seven metres deep. Picture: Supplied

JAN KEMPDORP residents have blamed the death of a woman who drowned on the negligence of the local municipality.

They said that municipal workers were fixing a broken pipe on Sunday, where the canal that was filled with water was left open.

“There were no warning signs or danger ribbons to caution the public. No attempts were made to cordon off access to the area. The woman fell in and drowned in water that is about seven metres deep, on Tuesday. The municipality should be held liable and should take responsibility for this serious dereliction of duty.”

Police spokesperson Captain Olebogeng Tawana said that the Jan Kempdorp police had opened an inquest docket into the woman’s death.

He said that the body of Lisabeth Maepheli was found near a bridge in Jan Kempdorp. “A passer-by noticed a woman’s body floating in the water and alerted the police.”

The spokesperson for Phokwane Municipality, Kgalalelo Lestshabo, said yesterday that they had received the news of the drowning with shock.

“At the moment, we do not have all the facts of what could have led to this incident. However, the management has taken it upon themselves to investigate this matter. The council and management sends its deepest, heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased,” said Lestshabo.

Meanwhile, Vaalharts water and sanitation contract workers, along with concerned workers and central office staff, gathered outside the Department of Water and Sanitation offices in Jan Kempdorp yesterday morning.

Tyres were set alight outside the gates of the offices.

The workers are demanding higher pay, permanent absorption, equal benefits for all races, inclusivity in the water board and adherence to procurement measures and supply chain management.

The workers said they would continue to down tools until they were addressed by the Minister of Water and Sanitation.

“We sent a memorandum to the Minister of Water and Sanitation last month but never received any feedback.”

The workers are also demanding that senior management comply with the employment equity regulations.

They said that they are being excluded from social programmes and want recreational facilities, such as the swimming pool and community hall, to be reopened.

Workers wish to be employed in clearing the drains in place of issuing a tender for this purpose – as a means of job creation.

The Department of Water and Sanitation did not respond to media enquiries by the time of going to print.