A poor drainage system and outdated infrastructure are blamed for the loss of the lives of two Galeshewe residents, Ashley Mogorosi (42) and James Koloku (42) who died on Sunday (18/03) afternoon following heavy rainfall.
The two men lost their lives during separate incidents when they slipped on the pedestrian bridge in the Stock & Stock township and ended up in the water canal.
They were both staying in ward five and grew up in streets next to each other.
Mogorosi’s sister, Gomolemo Joodt of Kabelo Makaudi Street, was crying endlessly as she described how she found out about her brother’s death.
“I was sitting at home and the heavy rain had just stopped when a boy knocked on our door and asked where Ashley was. He told us that they suspected one of the men found dead in the canal was him, as he is a ZCC church member and the man found was dressed in the church’s uniform,” said Jood.
According to her, she ransacked her brother’s belongings and came to the shocking realisation that his church uniform was missing.
The family of the other victim, Koloku, suspected that he was on his way home when he decided to cross at the canal that he knows very well, slipped and fell into it.
His life partner said she was called and informed that Koloku had fallen into the canal and people were trying to rescue him, but failed.
“During that traumatising hour I was held back by community members who insisted that I go home and wait for news with the rest of the family, and that is what I did,” the traumatised woman said.
The community complained that service delivery is a nightmare in their area and around the bridge.
They said that a little girl also drowned there a few years ago.
They also closed down the Galeshewe circle in May 2017 during a service delivery protest.
Koloku has been working for the Sol Plaatje Municipality since 1999, based at the Ramatshela graveyard.
Sol Plaatje Mayor Mangaliso Matika, Speaker Goolam Akharwaray and a delegation went to pay their condolences to the families where they walked about the area to witness the conditions.
The canal is overgrown with plants and the bridge has no rails or brick walls to ensure pedestrians’ safety. The water in the canal mixes with sewage at the Goga pump where a huge amount of waste water is pumped to the sewage plant.
Further down the road is another low bridge that stretches through busy Magoda Street.
Two outspoken residents, Akanyang Merementsi and Tebogo Mothibi, joined the delegation and described how they struggled to assist the two deceased in the high water.
Akharwaray admitted to many areas in the Galeshewe historical area being build on a flood-line and thus affected by heavy rains. Matika blames the deaths on vandalism and illegal dumping as well.
He admitted that growth in the city requires expanded infrastructure that they are in the process of addressing.
The outdated drainage system is furthermore affected by heavy rains.
A task team will be set up to see how the municipality can assist the families for the funeral process.