Drowning deaths in Mpumalanga a cause for concern

DROWNING deaths in Mpumalanga has skyrocketed says the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Mandla Msibi.

Several fatalities have been reported in the province that happened in rivers and dams and according to statistics released by COGTA, in July alone, five lives were lost.

One drowning took place in Vosman, three in a dam in Emalahleni and one in a river in Alkmaar outside Mbombela.

Msibi again urged communities not to risk their lives by swimming in rivers and dams.

“These fatalities are a serious cause for concern. Our people are enticed to swim in the local rivers and dams to cool themselves off, due to soaring hot temperatures in summer. But we have also observed that victims go to the rivers on fishing expeditions and some do not find their way back. We call on all communities not to expose themselves to the risk of drowning,” Msibi cautioned.

He said the department had teamed up with the SAPS and municipal disaster management units to provide swimming lessons, targeting learners at schools.

“Fatalities in the water can be mitigated if communities take heed of the precautionary measures,” he cautioned. “These fatalities can be prevented if communities take heed of precautionary measures. We call on parents not to allow their children to swim without supervision.”

The department has established a Disaster Toll-Free number (0800 202 507) for people to report cases of emergencies.