3 Zim­bab­wean sand poach­ers suf­fo­cate in SA truck mishap

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Re­porter

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

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