NWest sewerage deaths probed

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An internal investigation has been launched into the deaths of a father and son who inhaled toxic fumes in Vryburg last week, the North West local government department said on Tuesday.

Local government MEC Manketsi Tlhape said her department would see that the investigation was fast-tracked. Naledi Local Municipality mayor Langa Modise would also be approached about the alleged absence of working tools and safety gear for officials working in hazardous conditions.

Tlhape said future safety precautions would be discussed. Batlhaleheng Mohumapelo, 60, was a permanent municipal worker, while his son Monnapula, 24, was a contract worker.

They died while trying to unblock a sewerage system at Huhudi township on Friday. Inkatha Freedom Party spokesman Peter Smith called for the urgent improvement of safety standards in the workplace at all municipalities.

“The death of Monnapula Mohumapelo and his father Batlhaleheng shows that there are no policies in place governing work around hazardous material in some municipalities,” he said. Those in charge of safety standards should be held accountable.

“Sewage workers are exposed to different noxious agents, which may lead to the development of chronic lung infections,” said Smith. He called for hazard training for all municipal workers to prevent more deaths.

“We call on the labour minister to ensure that inspectors conduct regular checks on sites,” Smith said.

Sapa

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