SEKHUKHUNE – Rescue operations conducted by the Limpopo South African Police Service (Saps) Search and Rescue Team, the K9 Unit and the Air-wing have been successful across the province in the past months, according to Limpopo Saps.
Police said the operations were precipitated by the high rate of incidents of missing people who constantly went missing in the mountains, rivers or bushes.
Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe, Limpopo Provincial Police Spokesperson, said some victims were drowning while swimming in dams and rivers without close supervision of swimming experts.
Ngoepe added that others were caught by crocodiles while conducting illegal fishing in dams and rivers that were crocodile infested.
“From the beginning of June to date, more than six rescue operations were conducted and four bodies were retrieved from rivers and dams. The rescue operations were conducted in Gravellote, Waterval, Malipsdrift, Sekhukhune and Rakgoadi areas,” said Ngoepe.
He explained that the dedicated and passionate members of the Saps attached to the units were still flying the flag of the organization to the highest level of success by serving communities with pride.
“In Gravellote outside Phalaborwa, a 29 year-old Fondani Matsimbe was allegedly busy constructing a new crocodile dam when he slipped and fell into the dam. The body of the deceased was later retrieved through diving as it was deep and the area of search was very broad. At the Albasin Dam in Waterval outside Makhado, the body of 35 year-old Tinashe Ngwenya was retrieved after he drowned. In Seshego outside Polokwane, the body of a middle aged man was retrieved from sewage near the local shopping mall. Lastly, in Rakgoadi outside Groblersdal, the body of a 30 year-old Peter Phahlamohlaka was retrieved from a local dam after he drowned while allegedly conducting illegal fishing with his friend in the evening at about 21:00. He allegedly entered the water with a small canoe, started fishing with a net and he never returned until police were summoned,” explained Ngoepe.
Members of the community are advised and urged to take extra precautions whenever they are near rivers, especially around those infested with crocodiles. Those who go swimming should do so under the close supervision of experts to prevent incidents of this nature from occurring.
Jan Scheepers, Acting Provincial Commissioner of the Saps in Limpopo, applauded the teams of members for the job well done.