Two-year-old drowns in one of several open manholes

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A toddler drowned in sewerage on Saturday because of an open manhole in Mdantsane’s NU2.

The body of Sisikhanyiso Singama, two, was found by residents after a frantic two-hour search.

Sisikhanyiso Singama

Sisikhanyiso was playing with four friends a few metres from his home at about 1pm, when he reportedly threw a toy into the exposed manhole and then “jumped into the manhole” to try and find it.

Resident Nombuyiselo Tshisa, who was asked by the toddler’s relatives to relate the incident, said one of his friends had run to his home to report what happened.

“Local men searched for him immediately but with no success. Police were called but we did not get hold of them on different numbers.

“Another neighbour physically went to the nearby Highway police station to fetch them,” Tshisa said.

She said fire fighters later joined the search. “We looked everywhere and at some stage we were told to wait for a certain tool to cut the sewerage pipe.

“However, during that wait, some young men went to search again and that is when Sisikhanyiso’s body was found [after 4pm],” she said.

Resident Thandiwe Mdunyelwa accused the police and fire fighters of “doing nothing”.

“They just stood and waited near the manhole.

“We told the police and by the time they arrived he was already taken out of the water,” she said.

The residents blame Buffalo City Metro too, for negligence, saying several manhole covers were stolen years ago and never replaced.

When the Daily Dispatch visited Sisikhanyiso’s family yesterday, his grandparents Lulama Singama and Nash Mpambani said they were heartbroken by their “sweet grandchild’s untimely death”.

Singama said his distraught mother was job-hunting in Cape Town.

Ward 11 councillor Mashwabada Gcilishe said he was busy “talking to our infrastructure department to address this crisis”.

He said he was also facilitating talks with mayor Xola Pakati, “so that we can find ways where we can help as the family is very poor”.

The family, who are all unemployed, hope to bury Sisikhanyiso on Friday. Any help towards the funeral arrangements would be deeply appreciated, the family said. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

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