News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
1 minute read
13 Feb 2017
5:30 am

Missing soldier to be declared dead

Ilse de Lange

A board of inquiry in August 2013 found the soldier from Soweto had drowned.

FILE PICTURE: Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Picture: Michel Bega

The defence force chief has begun legal steps to have a soldier who presumably drowned while swimming in the sea at Port Shepstone three years ago declared dead.

Private Junior Ngwane of Soweto disappeared without a trace while he and fellow soldiers were swimming at Banana Beach on August 6, 2013.

Defence force chief General Solly Shoke said in court papers Ngwane was part of a group who had done a two-year emergency care technology course and were relaxing on the beach at the end of it.

He and some of the others were swimming farther out, but Ngwane started struggling and stayed in the same spot when the others decided to return to the beach.

They screamed at him to come back, but he disappeared and was never seen again.

One of the others tried to swim out to him, but was ordered to get out of the water because the sea was rough. There were no lifeguards on duty at the time.

The Port Shepstone rescue unit and the police searched for Ngwane in boats and a helicopter, but his body was never recovered.

A board of inquiry in August 2013 found Ngwane had drowned.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria last week granted an order giving interested parties until May 12 to supply reasons why an order should not be granted that Ngwane’s death was presumed to have occurred on the date of his disappearance.

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