“I have no words to explain how I feel.”
That was the reaction from Nombeko Thole on being told by Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina that her little boy Richard’s body would not be brought back to her.
“I cant walk past there‚ it hurts too much to know my son in still in there‚” said Thole‚ referring to the abandoned mine shaft into which Richard plunged three weeks ago.
“I feel very bad as a mother and I this like they have failed me by not bringing back my son. This is not right‚” she added.
The boy is believed to have been playing with a friend when he fell to his death.
The SANDF was called in by Masina to assist in the recovery of the body after Mine Rescue Services were unsuccessful in their recovery operations.
The army said in its report that after evaluating the disused mine shaft‚ more lives were likely to be lost should the recovery operations continue.
“The report provided sufficient evidence that there is a possibility of losing more people in the attempt to recover the body‚ as going down further into the shaft poses a greater risk of the ground caving in‚” read a statement issued by Masina’s office earlier on Wednesday.
The statement says that the SANDF has now tasked the Research and Development staff officers to ask the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to investigate new technologies to address future incidents of this nature.
Thole said she had believed Masina when he told her he would help recover her son’s body.
She said not even the illegal miners who had offered to retrieve the body would be be to help‚ as rescue efforts had led to further debris covering her son’s final resting place.
Thole is undergoing counselling.