Sandbank tragedy: EFF says City of Cape Town must take full responsibility

The EFF says the City of Cape Town is fully responsible for the sandbank tragedy. The City, however, says the incident did not take place on its property.

sandbank tragedy eff says city of cape town must take full responsibility - Sandbank tragedy: EFF says City of Cape Town must take full responsibility

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Western Cape have called on the City of Cape Town to take full responsibility for the death of four boys in Nyanga on Monday. Iva Kalikopu, 13, Ngabayethu Mlaza, 12, Axolile Mambangula, 11 and Azola Quweni, 13, were trapped underground after a sandbank collapsed at Borcherd’s Quarry on the N2 in Cape Town.  

The EFF in the province has since slammed the City of Cape Town for two things; Mayor Dan Plato’s response to the incident and the fact that the city had a chance to fix the problem back in 2019. Plato has since responded to the EFF and it’s not pretty. 

EFF BLAME CITY OF CAPE TOWN FOR SANDBANK TRAGEDY 

The EFF said it is disgusted at the “cold response” from Plato “who commented that there are enough play parks in Nyanga and that these children should not have been playing there in the first place.”

The party said such a response can only come from someone who represents a racist government that has no respect for the sanctity of life, particularly the life of a black child.  

“The Western Cape government has for the longest time neglected black townships and left them underdeveloped. While black and coloured areas remain underdeveloped, white areas remain fully developed with all the necessary infrastructure that is conducive for the upbringing of children. Apartheid spatial planning and allocation of resources is very riſe in the Western Cape administration,” it said in a statement on Tuesday. 

It went on to say that the life of the children who died in the sandbank tragedy could have been spared if the City of Cape Town fixed the sand dune hole when they were alerted to the danger it was posing to children by a concerned resident of the province as early as 15 October 2019. 

Screenshot 2021 02 10 at 17.00.14 - Sandbank tragedy: EFF says City of Cape Town must take full responsibility

“As the EFF Western Cape, we would like to know what did the City of Cape Town do to respond to this alert when it was brought to their attention in 2019? Why did they not fix this hole? As the party, we submit that this is pure negligence on the part of the City of Cape Town and as such we call on the City of Cape Town and Western Cape government to take full responsibility for the death of these young children,” it added. 

‘TO POLITICISE DEATHS OF FOUR INNOCENT CHILDREN IS SHAMEFUL’ – PLATO 

The South African reached out to Plato for comment regarding the EFF’s statement and he said political parties should refrain from abusing the sandbank tragedy for their own gains. He went on to say that local residents illegally mined sand which created a risk. 

“To politicise the deaths of four innocent children is absolutely shameful, but sadly a party like the EFF seek only political gain no matter at whose expense. The reality is that local residents illegally mined sand in that area and not only created a major risk for the road infrastructure but clearly an even bigger risk for curious children looking to occupy their afternoon,” said Plato. 

“I have met with the families of the children to offer my sincere condolences and the city has also offered to pay for the funerals of the children. I urge political parties to stop abusing this tragedy for their own gain and to give the parents the space and time to grieve,” he added.

The office of the mayor also said the N2 at Borcherd’s Quarry is not a City of Cape Town road. It said it belongs to the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works. Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said the sandbank incident took place on the property of SANRAL. 

“We note that the nature of the tragedy seems to stem from an illegal and dangerous excavation of sand under the freeway embankment which collapsed on the children while they were playing there. The investigation by SAPS will have to determine what happened and if there was negligence by the landowner or some other persons,” said Smith. 

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