THE family of a boy found mysteriously dead in a pit toilet after missing for almost 24 hours have more questions than answers of what happened on that fateful day.
Three-year-old Omari Monono’s lifeless body was found lying in faeces inside a toilet at his aunt’s house in Ditenteng village, Moletjie outside Polokwane in Limpopo two weeks ago.
Speaking to African Times and holding back tears, the mother of the little boy Kwena Monono (25), narrated how she and her family heard his last cries around 3 o’clock in the morning after he had been missing for about 10 hours.
She said she suspected foul play.
“When I came back from the Police Station that morning around 3 AM after I had gone to give the Police my statement, I found a fracas in the community with people crying and saying they had just heard him cry twice, they rushed to look for him but never found him and that was the last time they heard my baby,” said Monono.
She told of how her ordeal started on Tuesday a fortnight ago after she had dropped Omari off at his aunt’s house around midday, so that he kept warm and played with his cousins during the day.
“I am told when he got there he asked to go to the toilet and so his cousin sister helped him with his pants and so he relieved himself and got back to continue playing. When I realised that it was getting late, I dropped everything and started to panic around six o’clock and when he did not come back home I started looking for him house to house myself with the help of community members to no avail,” the boy’s teary mother said.
“The next day I was told by police to visit Child Protection Unit but they told me they did not even know of a missing child. If the police would have taken this case seriously they would have found my son still alive.”
Initially, when police looked in the pit hole they saw nothing. However, the boy’s body was found after one of the policemen suggested that they dig the side of the pit toilet he allegedly went to before disappearing.
When they did, Monono’s worst nightmare was confirmed as her son’s lifeless body was found lying inside.
However, Monono and her family insist there is something larger at play even though they can’t get their finger on it yet.
“That child is too big for that hole. He couldn’t have fit in it. I don’t know how that happened but my son couldn’t have fitted in in there,” Monono protested.
Last week, Limpopo Police Spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe said he didn’t know when the autopsy results would be out yet, when African Times enquired about the case.
“The investigation is still underway and we are waiting for the outcome of the autopsy results to figure out if there was any foul play involved in this case,” Ngoepe said.
According to Ngoepe, Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba was deeply saddened by this tragedy and has warned parents and guardians to be vigilant at all times and prevent these types of incidents from recurring. Little Omari was laid to rest at his home village on Saturday. This is not the only incident reported in the country in recent years.
In March this year, five-year-old Lumka Mkhethwa drowned in a school’s pit latrine. The 5-year-old’s body was found inside the latrine in Bizana in the Eastern Cape‚ a day after she had gone missing.
In another incident in 2014, five-year-old Michael Komape drowned after he fell into a pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primary school, outside Polokwane in Limpopo.
Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa gave Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga three months to conduct an audit of all hazardous school structures and come up with a plan to address the problem.