'Unbearable' pain: Family battling with death of girl, 3, who fell into Eastern Cape school pit toilet

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Glen Grey Primary School caretaker showing members of Parliament where the body of Langalam Viki was found.
Glen Grey Primary School caretaker showing members of Parliament where the body of Langalam Viki was found.
PHOTO: Supplied
  • Langalam Viki, 3, died after falling into a pit toilet at an Eastern Cape school earlier this month.
  • Her family have been torn apart by the death of the little girl.
  • Her 10-year-old brother had been promised counselling by the provincial education department, but the family said this has not happened.  

"No words can describe the pain I feel," a heartbroken Eastern Cape mother said in the wake of tragically losing her daughter after the little girl fell into a pit toilet at school.

Three-year-old Langalam Viki died on 6 March, after falling into a pit toilet at Glen Grey Primary School.

Her 28-year-old mother, Nangamso, said the entire ordeal has torn their lives apart.

"The pain is unbearable. I have not been able to sleep in weeks. No words can describe how I feel. I am gutted," the devastated mother said. 

Little Langalam was laid to rest over the weekend after her body was retrieved from the bottom of a pit toilet a day after she disappeared at school.

READ Melanie Verwoerd: Pit latrine deaths: Of all the neglect by government, this is the most shameful

The school is situated at Esiqithini Village in Vaalbank, outside Komani.  

Nangamso said the incident had ruined her life, leaving her basically without an income.

She said: 

I work in East London doing temporary jobs. Ever since this happened, I have not been making money because I am working under a no work, no pay policy.

She told News24 that she was very concerned about her 10-year-old son who had been very close to his little sister, and was clearly struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

"I can see he misses her. While I am grateful for the contributions the Department of Education made towards the funeral, my worry is that it has not provided the psycho-social support it promised my son. We are all battling to come to terms with this dreadful incident."

The 10-year-old boy was the one who told his grandparents after classes that Langalam had gone missing at the school. 

DA members from both the national and provincial legislatures visited the Viki home on Human Rights Day, bringing groceries and cash. 

Buildings and pit toilets set in grassy hill
DA members of Parliament inspecting the pit toilets.
Supplied PHOTO: Supplied
Memorial poster for little Langalam Viki
Remembering Langalam Viki
Supplied PHOTO: Supplied

Speaking in Esiqithini Village, DA Eastern Cape chair Andrew Whitfield said "no parent should bury their child".

"This incident makes my heart bleed and my stomach sick because I have a baby boy the same age as Langalam."

"We won't allow Langalam's memory to die," he said. 

ALSO READ A 'life or death issue': Amnesty International calls out basic education minister over pit toilets

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the party shared the family's pain.

"Your pain is our pain. It takes a village to raise a child and it is the entire village that suffers when a child dies."

He said that the government should use the money it spent on protecting politicians to build infrastructure for communities. 

He added the DA would launch a court application to force the basic education department to address the pit toilet issue. 

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