Photo: EFF Western Cape
Photo: EFF Western Cape
Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works Bonginkosi Madikizela delivered the technical findings of an investigation into the Cape Town sandbank tragedy. On Thursday 25 February — two weeks after the incident, Madikizela said theft led to the tragedy.
On Monday 8 February 2021, four young boys were playing on the embankment of the bridge crossing Borcherd’s Quarry Road on the Cape Town bound carriageway of the N2 when the sandbank collapsed.
Madikizela said the boys — Iva Kalikopu, 13, Ngabayethu Mlaza, 12, Axolile Mambangula, 11 and Azola Quweni, 13 — were unaware that the area they were playing in had been undermined over the prior weekend by criminals stealing fill material from the embankment.
“The tragic outcome was the sand collapsed and the children were buried beneath it. I am extremely angry by what this investigation has uncovered. Criminals with no thought other than their own gain and no consideration for the safety of others put the lives of these children at risk. The result is this tragedy,” he said.
“Our records show that the site where this tragedy unfolded was inspected on the Friday before the Monday when the incident occurred, and no problems were identified. As a result, it is clear that the theft of the filling must have taken place after the inspection took place, and over the weekend,” he added.
Madikizela said the people responsible for the construction and then the maintenance of our public road system are not law enforcement officers.
“As it is, they too often perform their responsibilities under threat and in real danger of violence and injury,” he said.
Madikizela said there needs to be improved law enforcement to ensure the safety of citizens and avoid another Sandbank tragedy.
“I will therefore interact with all law enforcement agencies and departments to explore ways in which they can play a greater and more effective role in protecting our public infrastructure as well as enabling the people who maintain this infrastructure to do so in safety,” he said.
“In line with the recommendations contained in the summary report, we will also approach Community Policing Forums, Neighborhood Watches and even private security to request extra vigilance and ensure criminal activity along the road reserves are reported as soon as possible,” he added.