The Alexandra swimming pool is the only safe, clean place for residents of the area to swim, and is expected to be used increasingly as the holiday season approaches.
Last week Thulani Moloi and his friends were walking home from school when they decided to splash in the river. Two of the boys swam out, and Thulani soon began to sink.
The boys screamed to passersby, calling for help. They were two of them facing danger and Thulani could not survive. They say as they look clearly, said something appeared to be drawing Thulani deeper into the water, allegedly a snake.
A water rescue team was called and after a two-hour search, the boy’s body was found. He was already dead. The rescue team wrapped him in a body bag and left him for pathologists to come and collect him. While waiting for the pathologists, community members who were at the scene said they saw a big snake jumping out of the river trying to snatch Thulani’s body. They screamed and the beast jumped back to the river.
Even Thulani’s mother, who was called to identify her son and was among the crowd, said she saw the snake.
While waiting for the pathologists, community members who were at the scene said they saw a big snake jumping out of the river trying to snatch Thulani’s body. They screamed and the beast jumped back to the river.
“I could not believe my eyes and wondered why my boy would go that way,” said the distraught mother, Primrose Moloi.
However, the official response from the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services stated that the boy was drowned and included no information on a snake or other kind of creature having been involved.
“There will always be those rumours, as we know in our culture rivers are associated with snakes. The same thing happened in Diepsloot,” said Emergence Management Services spokesperson, Robert Mulaudzi. He said his unit was now intensifying their campaign around how to stay safe during this summer, and over the festive season.
Meanwhile, the community was outraged and lashed out at the authorities for not taking any action to fix the local swimming pool. They say repairing the pool will stop children from swimming in the river water which is dirty and not healthy. A year has passed since they were told the pool’s pump was broken. To date, it hasn’t been fixed.
“I’ve engaged city officials on this several times and they told me there is no budget,” said Teffo Raphadu, a local councillor who has also appealed for the donations to help the Moloi family.
An edited copy of this story was published by The Star.