Former Johannesburg mayor and Action SA president Herman Mashaba has instructed his legal team to help the families of the three boys who drowned in a stormwater trench in Hammanskraal last month.
Mashaba wants them to hold the Tshwane metro and its contractors responsible.
Last week, the families disputed claims that the boys were swimming during the incident.
The families said they believed the children were trying to cross the stormwater trench, which is what pedestrians often did since it has been left open since the beginning of the lockdown by construction contractors.
Mashaba said he received a call on Sunday from a community leader who told him that the families wanted his intervention regarding this issue.
“I was horrified by what the families told us. We have offered them our legal team to deal with the metro and the service provider.”
Mashaba said all three families were struggling to cope with the pain of losing their young children.
“You can imagine losing children who are at that age. It is impossible to describe how any human being feels losing a child as young as them. It is not easy even losing an 80-year-old mother or grandfather. So you can imagine how it is like losing a child at their prime.”
According to Tshwane emergency services spokesperson Charles Mabaso, the bodies of Tshepe Machete, 10, Samuel Oupa Maphoso, 10, and Kutlwano Mkhwanazi, 9, were reportedly recovered by bystanders from the trench which had accumulated water due to recent heavy rains.
During a visit to the three boys’ families last week Tuesday, Tshwane mayor Randall Williams said the metro was waiting for the outcome of the police investigation.
“It is for the police to investigate whether there should be anyone who must be held accountable. We will have to follow up on that.”
Williams said the incident was something that “everyone should take responsibility for”.
“This is a tragic incident. No one asked for it to happen. If there’s fault on the part of the contractors, then they should accept the responsibility. If there’s any criminal liability that follows from the investigation, then the contractors must suffer the consequences,” Williams said.
Mashaba said the families were grateful for the metro’s intervention in taking care of the funeral arrangements; however, it was not enough.
“We are going to do everything possible to ensure that there is justice.
“The issue of stormwater trenches should be looked at not just in Hammanskraal, but all over the country. The local municipalities, provincial or national need to ensure that they use professional companies who are held accountable.”
Police spokesperson captain Mathews Nkoadi urged the community not to attack the contractors as police investigations were still ongoing.
This article was republished from Rekord East with permission