Following the State of the Nation Address debate, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the families of the four boys who died of suffocation after falling into a sinkhole near the N2 Highway in Nyanga, Cape Town.
Nyanga sinkhole incident
Azola Qakalana, Axolile Mabangula, Ivakele Kalikopu and Nqabayethu Mlaza died after falling into a hole near the Borcherds Quarry intersection. Their bodies were recovered by emergency rescue crews on 8 February 2021.
The president, who was accompanied by State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa, said he would be assisting the families with trauma counselling and funeral arrangements.
“The accident was painful and unusual. It was really shocking. These boys were going to be our future”.
Lack of recreational facilities
Ramaphosa said “an incident tragic as it is like this must be a lesson that it should not happen again”, adding that the “children were playing in a very unsafe place”. He also cited the lack of recreational facilities:
“If there were recreational facilities in the area of Vukuzenzele, Barcelona and Lusaka these children would not be here today”.
The children are expected to be laid to rest this weekend in the Eastern Cape. Ramaphosa also used the opportunity to talk about COVID-19 precaution, especially for those who would be attending the boys’ funeral.
— Presidency | South Africa (@PresidencyZA) February 18, 2021
Following his visit, the families’ spokesperson Nelson Mlumiso, said they are grateful for the president and government’s support. “We are very happy that the President visited us”, Mlumiso added.
Ramaphosa wasn’t the only one to pay his respect. Since the tragic incident, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and Mayor Dan Plato also paid their respects and offered to assist the bereaved families.
Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela and Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo visited the families as well and inspected the site.