- A law firm has been appointed to pursue compensation for the families of two boys who drowned in a quarry near Mamelodi in Pretoria.
- It is understood the boys went to the quarry, that had not been fenced off, to swim when they drowned earlier in March.
- While the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport launched a probe, ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has appointed a law firm on behalf of the families to look into the case and pursue action.
A law firm has been appointed to pursue compensation for the families of the two boys who drowned in a water-filled quarry near Mamelodi in Pretoria earlier in March.
Four-year-old Laurence Thwenu and seven-year-old Siyabonga Mabila drowned while swimming in the quarry that is said to have been created by contractors working on roads in the area.
According to the family, the two boys were out playing and must have headed towards the quarry in Kopanong Pienaarspoort informal settlement around 14:30 to take a swim.
About an hour later, the family were notified that the boys were missing and that their clothes and shoes had been found at the quarry. Residents searched to no avail and the bodies of Siyabonga and Laurence were later discovered in the quarry by police search and rescue teams.
Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo previously visited the scene and launched an independent investigation led by a senior counsel to uncover the circumstances that led to the death of the two boys, as the contract fell under the provincial department.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba, who also visited the families, offered to pay for legal services to help them find justice.
Mashaba was of the opinion that the drownings were due to negligence because the quarry had not been fenced off. The quarry was only fenced off four days after the two children died.
On Tuesday, the families met with Mashaba and Mkhabela Huntley Attorneys, who were briefed. Mashaba said that he would take care of the legal fees and asked that the law firm find justice for the families.
He also asked that a criminal case be opened against those found liable for the deaths of Laurence and Siyabonga.
Attorney Wendell Bloem said they would conduct an investigation to ascertain what happened, and who could be held liable, and if there is a legal basis to pursue action against those responsible.
Bloem added that they would seek retribution and compensation and would go to court if needs be, but that they were open to discussions with the relevant stakeholders to settle outside of court.
He said that only through their investigation would they be able to determine how much the families are seeking in compensation.
Siyabonga’s mother, Pretty Mabila, visited the scene where her son died for the first time on Tuesday to show the lawyers the area.
Mabila said that while it was painful to visit the quarry, she was happy that the lawyers are intervening on their behalf and believed that she would get justice.
Laurence’s mother, Madeline Thwenu was relieved that they have been given legal help as she did not think anyone would help her seek recourse after her son drowned.
“I’m hopeful that I’ll get justice for my baby and Siyabonga,” Thwenu said.
Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.