Legal action threat over Alex pool drowning incident sees possible

2009-01-18 00:00

The Msunduzi Municipality faces possible legal action as the aunt of the 16-year-old boy who drowned at Alexandra swimming pool on December 20 last year prepares to sue.

No one knows how long Siyabulela Nkone’s lifeless body lay face-down in the water before being pulled out.

Siyabulela’s aunt, Zethu Nkone, says it is still not clear what actually happened on the day.

“Not one person from the municipality has contacted me since the incident occurred. The fact that they haven’t sent their condolences means they don’t care. They act like nothing has happened,” said Nkone.

“I am prepared to take legal action against the municipality because it happened due to negligence.”

The Witness has received conflicting reports about the incident.

Swimmers on site told The Witness the water was green and murky on the day that Siyabulela drowned.

They said that other swimmers hauled Siyabulela’s lifeless body out of the water.

However, the manager of sports and recreation in the parks department, Thomas Roux, denied the water was too murky for swimming. He also claimed the lifeguard on duty was the one to dive in and retrieve the body.

Siyabulela’s death has dealt a huge blow to the family.

Nkone said that since Siyabulela’s father died in 1996, his unemployed mother has relied on the income Siyabulela brought in from casual work to support the rest of the family.

Nkone says she was about to make arrangements for Siyabulela to come and live with her.

“I was prepared to raise and educate him so that he would be able to take care of his mother and younger siblings. They all looked up to him,” she said.

Nkone says Siyabulela and his two siblings, who live in Umzimkhulu, had come to visit her during the December holidays.

On the day of the drowning, the youngsters had begged her to take them to the pool, so she dropped them off while she went to buy them food.

“On my way back, I received a phone call and was told Siyabulela had drowned. I was in a state of shock. The lifeguard was supposed to see his body immediately and jump in to help him. I’m very hurt. He was like a son to me,” she said.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell said the municipality regrets the death of Siyabulela.

He said he was on leave when the incident occurred and would insist on a thorough investigation upon his return to work today.

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