North West government acts on Mmupele tragedy
23 Nov 2011
Reports of the four Mmupele children in Verdwaal near Lichtenburg in the North West who reportedly died of hunger and dehydration have left the provincial government shocked and bewildered and circumstances surrounding the children’s deaths is a cause for concern North West Premier Mme Thandi Modise said on Wednesday.
Premier Modise said government has called for thorough investigations relating to the deaths of the four children aged between nine years and two years.
“We have been reliably informed by the South African Police Service that investigation around the death of the toddlers is continuing. We have confidence that necessary work will be done to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths”.
“The police are working closely with the office of the National Prosecuting Authority in the case. A further case of child neglect against the two mothers of the deceased is also being investigated” said Premier Modise.
Sadly, in addition to the deaths of the children, five more members of the Mmupele family have died from tuberculosis and other causes since June this year said Elizabeth Mmupele mother of the two younger children Obakeng and Onkarabile. Her siblings aged seven and nine who were with the younger children had also died.
What seems to trouble Elizabeth more is why her siblings who were discovered in an adjacent field not far from where her children were found dead got separated. She said the children were familiar with the path they had taken in search of her and their mother.
That fateful Monday on 24 October Elizabeth said she had fed porridge to her siblings and her children before she left in search of her mother who had visited a farm about ten kilometers away. According to her Olebogeng who had physical disability, had recently been discharged from a hospital after treatment for tuberculosis, she (Elizabeth) had given him his medication. Elizabeth and her mother Martha Mmupele seem numb from the painful events that had befallen their family in recent months.
The shocking deaths of the children have led to a number of government departments and agencies visit the Mmupele home to assess the situation and offer immediate relief. The family received food vouchers and were assisted to apply for identity documents in order that they access social grants.
The Department of Social Development, Women, Children and People with Disabilities as well as South African Social Security Agency are on the ground to ensure the necessary interventions are followed to ease not only the plight of the Mmupele family but also families in that community who needed help.
Premier Modise has commended the spontaneous response by organizations that joined government in addressing the sad events that befell the Mmupele family. Gift of the Givers, a charity organisation was on Wednesday in Verdwaal where they distributed more than 300 food parcels to poor Verdwaal families as their first phase emergency response.
“As government we continue to call on everyone to partner with us, to work together to fight the scourge of poverty that has enveloped mainly our rural communities. There are many other individuals and organisations that have been touched by the Mmupele tragedy. We welcome their compassion and support. Let us go back to basics and practice the spirit of botho/ubuntu to curb such occurrences" said Modise.
Lesiba Moses Kgwele
Tel: 018 391 0420
Fax: 018 381 0328
Cell: 083 629 1987
Issued by: North West Office of the Premier
23 Nov 2011
[ Top ]