The Nelson Mandela Bay metro has taken full responsibility for the death of Mishka Ferreira, a 21-month-old toddler that fell and drowned to her death in an abandoned ditch at Vastrap, Port Elizabeth, on Friday, 19 April.
As reported by SABC News, the province was hit with heavy showers recently. It may have brought much-needed relief to the strained water levels in the province but it posed a serious danger to unguarded children living in informal settlements.
What happened to Mishka Ferreira on Good Friday?
Vastrap, in particular, was affected by the wet weather. Not too far from where Ferreira lived with his father, Emille Vansensie, the rain had filled an abandoned ditch that was left by a construction site.
This is where the toddler drowned on Good Friday.
“I tried to call her — no answer. We were running around from place to place, shack to shack, running around [but] she didn’t answer us — nothing.
“So, my cousin’s daughter and her friend went on to that ditch and found her. 15 minutes later, she was [pronounced] dead,” an emotional Vansensie said.
Residents lay blame on Nelson Mandela Bay metro
Victoria Mbolekwa, a neighbour of the bereaved family, stated that all of this could have been avoided if the municipality had responded to her concerns about the ditch a year ago.
“I reported this [matter] to the mayor’s office, that the water is flooding in my yard and comes from the broken pipes from Vastrap. They promised to send people to fix that problem,” Mbolekwa recalled.
She noted that when the officials had reported to her residence, she had insisted that they head over to Vastrao whether the root of the problem was. However, according to the neighbour, her calls were clearly ignored.
“We will assist where we can” – Bombani
Mongameli Bobani, the executive mayor that replaced the ousted Athol Trollip, offered his condolences to the family and extended the municipality’s availability to anything they may need.
“Remember that we also have policies in incidents like this whereby our policies are clear in terms of our assistance.
“Also, the [construction company] on site was contracted by us. It has already committed to covering all funeral expenses,” Bombani said.
The police have since launched an inquest into the matter.