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Another child drowns in abandoned pit, residents fume over council’s slow response

Pumula South residents have called on Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to close the abandoned pits in the residential suburb which have become a death trap for children.

This follows the death of a 15-year-old boy, Kudakwashe Matiwana who drowned on Saturday while swimming in the pit with his friends.

Bulawayo Police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident saying the boy was found without his clothes and with no injuries.

The deceased’s mother, Jerita Matiwana who was visibly shaken by the incident said it was her son’s first time going to the abandoned pits.

“For the first time he went there and he never returned home, I had gone to church only to come back to such tragic news, it’s so painful and I am failing to accept that my son is really gone,” said Matiwana.

“Those pits must be closed. Government has to make a plan since it is not the first time and it won’t be the last time children die there. This thing must stop if it is the council of the people, it should close those pits.”

When a CITE news crew visited the pits where Kudakwashe drowned, residents were filling the pit with stones to prevent similar incidents.

Due to the ongoing water shortages in the suburb, residents often collect water from the pits for household use.

One of the residents who also lost a child in the same pits, Phumulani Nsingo said they engaged the local authority to cover the pits but no action has been taken.

“There was a child who drowned in these pits on Saturday so we came here as residents to throw stones inside. Some residents are also using the pits to get water for watering their gardens and household use, especially during the water shedding period,” said Nsingo.

‘After realising that several children have died in these pits, we have called on the Council who opened these pits to come and close them but they are not taking any action, thus why we have resorted to throwing stones inside.”

“I also lost a child a few months back,” he said.

Bulawayo Resident Association (BURA) Ward 27 chairperson, Simangaliso Sibanda said it is saddening that the Council is continuing to dig more pits.

“We once tried to engage the City Council on these pits but it seems they are not listening to us as they continue to dig more pits. As residents we are failing to close these pits because they are too deep,” said Sibanda.

“It pains us as residents because we don’t know which steps to take for them to take us seriously. Children leave their homes to come swim and do fishing here. We are looking for assistance here.”

Another resident, Jeniffer Dube said they have lost many children in the abandoned pits.

“We had thought we would meet council officials here but they are nowhere to be found. These pits were left open by the City Council and they continue to deepen, these pits have killed our children and our appeal is for them to close these pits,” said Dube.

She added that they are appealing to anyone who can assist them in closing the pits.

Ward 27 councillor Alderman Siboniso Khumalo was unavailable for a comment as his phone rang unanswered.`

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