Support after drowning

The pool where the tragedy occurred.

Silikamva High School and Little Lambs daycare centre are rallying around the families of the two three-year-old boys who drowned in Imizamo Yethu last week.

Friends Liyabona Ndude and Zingce Phandle drowned at about 6pm on Thursday March 1 in an unused swimming pool at the back of the two schools.

The property used to be a YMCA camping ground, but it is now owned by the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works and is being developed as the new Silikamva High School building.

Contractor Haw & Inglis Civil Engineering had fenced off the pool, but the boys got in through a small gate left slightly ajar.

A Silikamva High matric pupil found the boys’ bodies. She stays with her guardian, Mumsey Mongwe, a teacher at the school, in a home above the swimming pool, which had filled up with run-off water from the mountain.

The boys were taken to the Hout Bay fire station for treatment before being transported to Constantiaberg MediClinic and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, but were later declared dead, according to Hout Bay police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch.

Last Friday, a SAPS diving unit did a thorough search of the pool. An inquest docket was later opened.

Liyabona and Zingce attended Little Lambs, but had already been picked up by their parents after 4pm, said principal Geraldine Daniels.

“We had a parent-teacher meeting on Thursday, and one of our teachers saw the boys playing outside at about 5.15pm. She still asked them what they were still doing there when we had closed for the day,” Ms Daniels said.

“About 20 minutes later, while I was speaking to the parents, the teacher came to whisper in my ear that something had happened. We are absolutely devastated.”

Little Lambs has been liaising with the two families to assist in any way they can, including releasing funds from its trust to help with funeral arrangements.

Zingce’s aunt and spokesperson for the two families, Ziyanda Phandle, said the families were “shocked and traumatised” by what had happened.

Silikamva principal Dianne Morgan said counselling was being provided to the matric pupil as well as to one of the boy’s relatives, who was a pupil at the school.

“This community has been through so much, and we need to assist them by putting in measures that can protect them from incidents like this. We need to ensure that once school closes for the day, they are looked after.

“The Western Cape Education Department has been very helpful, and we are assisting the families after this tragedy. All the community’s kids are our kids as well, and we need to support each other.” The education department referred queries to Public Works, and its spokesman, Siphesihle Dube, said the department was co-operating fully with the police investigation.

“Support is currently being given by the Western Cape Education Department. Department officials have been on site, and are in constant contact with the contractor regarding work on site,” he said.

Haw & Inglis Civil Engineering did not respond to questions by the time this edition went to print.