International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has extended condolences to the families of four South Africans who tragically drowned in Mozambique”s Portuguese Islands.
This follows the recovery of the four bodies after a protracted recovery mission that was hampered by bad weather.
The four young South Africans – Lesego Matsepe, Mmatholo Mogafe, David Kaisehad and Gregory Mfune – travelled on holiday with a group to Mozambique last Saturday, 12 January. They drowned two days later, on Monday afternoon.
They had taken a boat trip to the Islands and went for a swim. The area is known by locals for its strong currents.
South African expats joined local authorities to search for the missing oven. Three of the bodies were found on Thursday and the fourth washed up on the beach on Friday.
Although Sisulu conveyed South Africa’s appreciation to the government of Mozambique and the “consular support given to the families by the High Commission in Mozambique, led by Ambassador Mandisi Mpahlwa,” the families have criticised both the SA and the Mozambique government for not giving them more help.
IOL reports that a family spokesperson, Bongani Diako, said:
The absence of the South African High Commissioner, Mandisi Mphahlwa, on this matter to allow families the opportunity to engage him with their frustrations is rather concerning and hurtful. Our experience with the embassy was hurtful, he was far from the situation and did not offer any assistance.
Even when we went to the embassy’s office in Mozambique to request assistance for transportation, we were kept waiting for more than a year hour. We didn t get help. We were using taxis to travel around, we basically had to find our way during the search.
The families say that help only arrived when a Limpopo provincial government team was flown into Mozambique.
DIRCO says a team of social workers and psychologists have assisted the family and friends.
“The Minister has directed Mpahlwa to ensure that all necessary processes and documents are concluded as soon as possible for the repatriation of the bodies and for the families to return home as early as possible,” the department said in a statement.
The bodies are expected to return home on Monday.