4 Nyanga families left devastated by deaths of children in sinkhole collapse

Following an extensive operation, the bodies of Axolile Mabangula, Nqabayethu Mlaza, Azola Quweni and Iva Kalikopu were recovered.

The Western Cape Government’s EMS Rescue team responded to an incident on the corners of Borcherds Quarry on the ramp next to the N2, Nyanga, at the side of the bridge on Monday, 8 February.  Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Four families are still asking questions after a group of young boys fell into a hole and died near Borcherds Quarry along the N2 highway in Nyanga.

Rescue teams were alerted on Monday afternoon after the embankment collapsed, burying the youngsters.

Following an extensive operation, the bodies of Axolile Mabangula, Nqabayethu Mlaza, Azola Quweni and Iva Kalikopu were recovered.

Police said that a five-year-old boy was with the group of children and ran for help after the boys fell into the hole.

Nyanga ward councillor Khaya Yozi said that the children's families were devastated.

He said that the parents have identified the bodies at the mortuary and would now look at planning the funeral.

"The children got home and went outside to play in that space. So that was the last time the parents saw their children. You know, the sadness in the family does involve shock and not believing that this really happened."

He said that the children often played on the open piece of land but unfortunately didn't expect a section to collapse.

"It never occurred to us that this posed a danger to the kids, so we've always regarded that as a space that we can utilise... play soccer."

He said that residents often dug in that area for sand for their shacks and that authorities would have to close the hole.

All four children lived in an informal settlement nearby, and attended school in the Nyanga area.

BLAME GAME

The EFF in the Western Cape is calling on the City of Cape Town to take full responsibility for the death of the four young children.

The party said that it was disgusted by the cold response from Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato, who commented that there were enough play parks in Nyanga.

"It is disingenuous of him to say that there are enough playgrounds when he knows very well that in the black and coloured areas, they basically, as government, have long neglected these areas, hence they remain underdeveloped."

The EFF said that the life of the children could have been spared if the city had fixed the sand dune hole when they were alerted to the danger it was posing to children by a concerned resident on 15 October 2019.

"The City of Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape government were alerted to this danger but they did nothing about it. We also call on the City of Cape Town to take full responsibility because if they had acted, they would have prevented this from happening."

Meanwhile, Plato has expressed his condolences to the families of victims of the sandbank collapse.

Plato said that counselling had been offered to the family members of the victims.

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