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Family of the 13-year-old who drowned in a ditch in Harrismith aim to sue municipality

The family of the 13-year-old Senzo Tshabalala who drowned in a ditch in Intabazwe in Harrismith says they will sue Maluti-A-Phofung municipality and the contractor. Senzo drowned on Saturday while playing with friends. The family wants those responsible to be held accountable.

Ditches left by the construction company have caused trauma to two families in Intabazwe. The Tshabalala family lost their child who was doing Grade 5. The family is devastated as the dream to see their son grow old was untimely shattered.

His mother Nthabiseng Tshabalala says those responsible must pay.

“Well, the same day my brother called me to say, ‘please, can you come here to the cemetery?’ That ‘your son has gotten into the river but he passed away.’ Then I ran fast, but when I arrived my son was dead. Those people have to pay because my son was already dead.”

The family says it demands answers as to why the contractor failed to adhere to safety measures.

The deceased’s uncle Thabo Ruiters, says, “I’m going to sue the municipality because they have done the damage. The community is angry because of the damage. We will take the responsibility as the family to sue the municipality of Harrismith, Maluti-a-Phofung.”

The community says attempts to save Senzo were fruitless because he was trapped by the muddy water.

The second child is in and out of hospital after falling into another ditch in the area. The Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality says it has instituted an investigation into the incident.

Ward councillor Mandla Tshabalala says, “The ditch was left by the construction company. The municipality is expected to meet with the construction company on Wednesday for a full report on the matter. We are sending our condolences to the family.”

Police have confirmed that an inquest has been opened for Tshabalala’s death.

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