Theft of filling sand contributed to Nyanga sinkhole tragedy - dept

Four boys aged between 11 and 13 died earlier this month after they fell into a sinkhole in Nyanga near the Borcherds Quarry off-ramp while they were playing.

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 - The Western Cape Transport and Public Works Department said that an investigation had found that the theft of sand used to fill holes along roads contributed to a tragedy in which a group of children died in Nyanga.

MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela on Thursday released the findings of a technical investigation following the tragedy.

Four boys aged between 11 and 13 died earlier this month after they fell into a sinkhole in Nyanga near the Borcherds Quarry off-ramp while they were playing.

READ: 4 Victims of Borcherds Quarry tragedy drowned after falling into sinkhole

Following the tragedy, MEC Madikizela said that he immediately instructed his department to launch an investigation.

He said that the children were unaware that the area they were playing in had been undermined by criminals stealing fill material from the embankment.

"The tragic outcome was the sand collapsed and the children were buried beneath it."

Madikizela said that the site had been inspected on the Friday before the incident and no problems were identified.

READ MORE: Madikizela: Nyanga sinkhole site where 4 children died inspected before incident

"As a result, it is clear that the theft of the filling must have taken place after the inspection took place, and over the weekend."

He said that his department and its contractors were facing major challenges in responding to ongoing theft and vandalism along these arterials.

"From the end of January 2020 [January 2020 to Jan 2021], the routine road maintenance teams have attended to 119 instructions to repair/rectify damages arising out of theft or vandalism on the N1, N2 and M5, with 67 of those on the N2 alone."

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