3 Zimbabwean sand poachers suffocate in SA truck mishap
THREE brothers from Gokwe died in South Africa when a truck they were loading with river sand overturned and buried them under a mound of sand.
The incident occurred last week on Monday shortly after 4PM at Zamenkomste area in Kutama near Louis Trichardt town in Limpopo Province.
South African police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Moepe said the three brothers were hired by their employer to load sand from Muegedzi River into his truck when the vehicle overturned.
“The three men who are brothers were busy loading sand into the truck and we suspect due to the load, the truck lost traction. It overturned and in the process the three men were trapped in sand and they died on the spot.
“We have since opened an inquest docket and we are continuing with our investigations,” said Lt Col Moepe.
He identified the deceased persons as Sifelani (19) Kudakwashe (21) and Tapiwa Mahohoma (23).
Lt Col Moepe said the bodies have since been repatriated to the country for burial.
He warned people against poaching sand in open areas near the river, which has resulted in land corrosion during rainy seasons.
“The villagers have been poaching sand for years taking advantage of the dry riverbed. We, however, would like to take this opportunity to also warn them against engaging in illegal activities as they risk being prosecuted,” said Lt Col Moepe.
Mr Joseph Mpichane, the trio’s uncle, said his nephews were buried at Chireya village in Gokwe on Wednesday last week.
King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana of the Kutama Royal Council sent his condolences to the bereaved families.
“This was an unfortunate incident and I would like to pass my condolences to the family of the deceased. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this time of grief,” he said.
Last month three Zimbabweans died while one was rescued after a gas explosion at a disused 130-year-old gold mine near Johannesburg. They died while trying to save a colleague who had been trapped in the mine.
The mine tragedy survivor is also from Gokwe. —@ mashnets