The Makana Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape has been blamed for negligence after 13-year-old, Asanele Qomfo drowned in a 2.5m-deep water-filled trench dug by the municipality.

According to the Makana Citizens’ Front (MCF), Qomfo died on 25 September after he fell into a giant unguarded water-filled open trench in Xolani informal settlement that had been dug by the municipality.

“This is just not an ordinary tragedy. It is a deliberate and planned murder by this municipality because the municipality is run by political mercenaries and Black lives do not matter. It is a shame that this municipality has destroyed the innocent life of a 13-year-old child in this manner,” said Lungile Mxube, the interim convenor of the MCF.

He said that their initial investigations revealed that a water pipe was damaged which then flooded the trench, turning it into a swimming pool of over 1.6 metres deep.

However, Mxube said despite knowing that the trench had flooded, the municipality failed to send the honeysucker vehicle to suck the water out and also failed to post security guards at the trench.

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“Instead, the negligent Makana Municipality just ignored the deep pool that had formed,” said Mxube.

He said the MCF is now working with the Qomfo family to enlist attorneys to sue both the Makana Municipality and the contractor which Mxube claims has dug quite a few giant trenches across the municipality.

“The municipality wilfully caused this tragedy and it is too late for them to send convoys of cars to the Qomfo house to pay condolences to the parents on the loss of their dear son,” he said.

Mxube further said that the municipal officials only came to see the pool two days after the tragedy and they placed a thin net around the pool, but failed to drain the pool or post a security guard there.

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