Gauteng drownings a 'cause for concern'

Gauteng drownings are a cause for concern, as the province’s number of instances of drowning is higher than on the coast, provincial minister of local government Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu said on Monday.

Mahlangu said 15 more people have recently drowned in Gauteng than at the coast, with more incidents occurring in private pools than in dams, lakes, streams and rivers.

The most recent drowning incident occurred on Friday when a four-year-old boy drowned on his birthday in a residential swimming pool in Germiston. His body was found floating in the unprotected pool.

“It is not known how long the child was in the water before his body was discovered.
There were no signs of life and the child was declared dead at the scene,” said Netcare 911 spokesperson Nick Dollman.

On Tuesday last week, a girl drowned and her sister was taken to hospital after they were pulled out of a swimming pool at a housing complex in Midrand.

Netcare 911 has attended to nearly 50 drowning or near drowning incidents in Gauteng since the beginning of spring.

“It is understandable that people want to cool off in this hot weather. However, it is important for parents to supervise their children while swimming in their homes and also discourage their children from swimming in rivers and streams,” said Mahlangu.

The Gauteng department of local government and municipalities have embarked on a campaign to teach schoolchildren to swim.

Mahlangu said: “One loss of life is one too many. We want to prevent any further drownings. Swimming is a skill that every child should learn, as it saves lives.”—Sapa