Police in Mpumalanga are sending a warning to the public to refrain from crossing, baptising people or performing rituals in flooded rivers or dams. The warning comes after several people lost their lives recently, including a Sangoma aged 24 and his trainee aged 22. The two disappeared in the Mkhondo River on Monday, 18 January 2021.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said  on the sad day, the Sangoma together with his five trainees and one member of the public, went to the river to perform some rituals. It is said that the Sangoma dipped three trainees in the water successfully, however on the fourth trainee, things went terribly wrong as the Sangoma and the trainee disappeared in the water. Police Divers were summoned to the scene where on 19 January 2021, the two bodies were retrieved.

“Meanwhile, at Masoyi near Hazyview, a five year old boy became a victim of drowning as him and his mother were attempting to cross the Sukani River. Reports suggest that the devastating incident occurred on Sunday, 24 January 2021, where the boy who was held by his mother, fell into the water after slipping from her hands and unfortunately drowned. An inquest docket was registered and the body of the boy has since been retrieved by police divers” sasdi Hlathi

In a separate incident, a 40 year old man’s body was also recovered at Pilgrim’s Rest after his sudden disappearance at a nearby river and the matter was reported at the local police station yesterday, 25 January 2021. The police divers were summoned where the man’s body was retrieved today and an inquest was registered.

In another sad event that occurred earlier today, the body of a one year old boy was discovered in a ditch full of water at Nkaba Trust in Elukwatini after the boy was last seen playing and moments later, his body was found.

Police are worried by these incidents because since the beginning of summer, a number of people have drowned in different parts of the province and as a result, police are appealing to the public to avoid the danger of getting into flooded rivers and dams. Parents are also warned and urged to look after their children more over now that schools are still closed as more heavy rain was experienced in some parts of the province and more still expected.

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