Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Police here have recovered the body of a suspected border jumper who drowned in the Limpopo River while illegally crossing between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The body was found in an advanced state of decomposition.
Currently, the Limpopo River, now six metres deep, and many streams are in flood with heavy rains continuing in most parts of Beitbridge district and northern South Africa.
The local Civil Protection Unit has since issued out early warnings to communities around Shashe, Umzingwane and Limpopo Rivers to take precautionary measures.
Officer commanding Beitbridge District, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo said police were yet to get more reports on drownings and that most information was filtering through the grapevine and these were being investigated.
“We have been hearing rumours, but it is very difficult to establish the facts without anyone reporting on the cases or location,” he said.
“However, so far we have one case of drowning that occurred at an illegal crossing point near Panda Mine.
“We have retrieved the body of a man who was spotted trapped between rocks by a villager who was looking for his donkeys along the Limpopo River on December 17.”
Chief Supt Nyongo said the naked corpse had been taken to Beitbridge District Hospital for a post-mortem.
He said the remains were found trapped some 20 metres from the Limpopo River.
“The body of the unidentified man was retrieved at the advanced state of decomposition and indications are that he could have drowned while crossing the flooded Limpopo River,” said the senior police officer.
Cases of drowning have become common in Beitbridge during the rainy season.
In January this year, two mourners from Mtetengwe area drowned while taking a bath in the flooded Umzingwane River.
Late last year, four fishermen drowned in the flooded Zhovhe Dam when a boat they were using capsized while they were casting fishing nets.
The dam is located 63km west of Beitbridge along Umzingwane River.