Vhembe residents warned not to swim in rivers

Vhembe residents warned not to swim in rivers

LIMPOPO – The death of a young boy from rural Vhembe who drowned in a river after deciding to swim in order to cool down as sparked official warnings from the Limpopo Department of Health, urging people not to swim in local rivers.

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Parents told to discourage children from swimming in dirty water. (Credit: File Photo)
Parents told to discourage children from swimming in dirty water. (Credit: File Photo)

Health officials said the water in local rivers could also be contaminated and constitute a health hazard.

“We are encouraging all the parents in the province to always make sure that they keep their children in check, and make sure that they do not go swimming in the rivers. The water in most of our rivers is contaminated and might cause health hazard in the future,” said Thabiso Teffo, spokesperson for the MEC of Health in the province.

“We are aware that it is currently very hot in Limpopo, especially in the Vhembe area and we know that our kids will want to go to the rivers to cool off from the heat. Hence we are saying that parents must work with us to protect the life and health of our children,” he said.

We know that our kids will want to go to the rivers to cool off from the heat. Hence we are saying that parents must work with us to protect the life and health of our children.

Boy drowned in the river

The latest victim who drowned in one of the dirty rivers is Mufhadi Phathutshelo (9) of Mpheni village, near Louis Trichard. Mufhadi, who was a grade 4 pupil at Mulweli Primary School, was playing at the river with some of his friends when he got stuck in the mud. His friends were unable to rescue him and he ended up drowning.

The incident has since left many residents of Mpheni village in shock as they still cannot come to terms with what has happened to their village.

“I still cannot believe that the boy is gone. He was still young and a lot was still being expected from him. The way he died is so painful,” said Renkie Munyai, a resident of Mpheni village and a neighbour to Mufhadi’s family.

Continuous heat

The continuous heat in the region is one of the reasons why young children want to swim in the rivers.

Vhembe based social worker, Peggy Mulaudzi, said that the other children who were with Mufhadi when he drowned over the weekend must be provided with counselling as they had witnessed a traumatic event and this could stay with them forever.