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Search for drowned teenager called off

The family of a 14-year-old boy who drowned at the Blou Dam in Cape Town claims police divers didn’t put much effort into finding the body.

On Saturday, Anje Msi from the Mfuleni informal settlement went swimming with a friend but never returned.

“I got worried when he didn’t come back home on Saturday,” said Vuyo Tsustu, the boy’s father. “On Sunday morning I went to report him [missing] at the police station. During that time I didn’t know that he’d gone for a swim.”

On Monday, he went to the school to report his missing son.

“I asked the teachers to ask learners who are friends of my son, and they did so. It was only then that one of the learners informed us that my son had drowned while they were swimming in a dam in Driftsand.”

His son had allegedly been using a piece of foam to stay afloat.

“He couldn’t hold on to the foam and he drowned,” said Vuyo.

The family went to the dam and found his clothes.

“Police divers continued searching on Tuesday, and they couldn’t find my son’s body. We thought that they were going to continue with the search until they found him. We were shocked and surprised when they told us that they were calling the search off.”

The family is confused about why it was called off before the body of the victim had been found.

“They should’ve continued searching. Instead, they told us and the community that we needed to go and check if the body wouldn’t surface after some days. Now they are depending on the community members staying close to the dam.

“What they did is traumatising. They are professionals... and should’ve continued doing their job,” said the angry father.

Western Cape SAPS spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said that given the timing of the report, specialised search and rescue operations, including the deployment of diving units, were organised.

He said despite these concerted efforts, the search team was unable to recover the body, ultimately leading to the difficult decision to suspend the operation.

A community member speaking anonymously said Anje was not the first child to drown in the dam.

“The only way to stop kids from swimming in that dam is for it to be fenced, or we need to have swimming pools in our township. If we had them they wouldn’t see the need to go to swim in the dam,” said the resident.

Pictured above: The family of the 14-year-old boy who drowned in the dam.

Image source: Buziwe Nocuze