Cops warn about dam after two drownings

The Rhodes Memorial Dam

Rondebosch police have warned people not to go swimming at the Rhodes Memorial Dam after two people drowned there recently.

Rondebosch SAPS spokesman Warrant Officer Lyndon Sisam said they first found the body of a 21-year-old woman from Heideveld after police had been alerted to a drowning incident on Saturday December 21 around 12.30pm.

“The police spoke to her friend who informed them that the deceased went into the water but she could not swim well and disappeared under the water,” he said.

Warrant Officer Sisam said the police diving unit were called and after a few hours of searching they managed to find the body of the young woman.

Then on Thursday January 2, the police diving unit was called again when a 36-year-old man from Silvertown went missing in the Rhodes Memorial Dam.

Warrant Officer Sisam said police were alerted to the drowning by the man’s friend at around 8.15pm.

“The police diving unit were called and after a few hours of searching they had to stop because it was too dark,” he said. The police diving unit had to come back early on Friday morning January 3 when they found the man’s body.

In addition to it being unsafe to swim in the dam, Warrant Officer Sisam also warned that the dam was on private SANParks property and trespassers would be prosecuted.

SANParks spokesperson Babalwa Dlangamandla said for years people had been swimming in the dam illegally and did so at their own risk as there were no lifeguards present. “We have since fenced off the area to deter the illegal use of the dam and put up signage in the vicinity of the dam directing users to the proper entrance at Newlands Picnic area where access is regulated,” she said.

Ms Dlagamandla said despite SANParks efforts to fence the area, it had been vandalised on numerous occasions. “The dam water is subsequently being used for fire-fighting operations in the event of a fire and people caught swimming in the dam are being fined an amount of
R2 500,” she said.

Rondebosch police arrested four men between the ages of 34 and 39 for housebreaking and theft which occurred last Wednesday, January 8, at around 1.50am.

Warrant Officer Sisam said police had responded to a call by a complainant who had been woken up by the noise made by intruders in his apartment at Chester Road, Rondebosch.

“When the police arrived, they notice two suspects running out of the apartment and they instructed the suspects to stop but one of them started to spray them with pepper spray,” he said.

Warrant Officer Sisam said the officers overpowered the two suspects and arrested them before finding another two suspects hiding in a getaway vehicle with some of the stolen items. They were also arrested.

All four suspects were taken to Rondebosch police station and appeared in Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday January 9 on charges of housebreaking and theft.