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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor


Five people drown after sangoma ritual at Vet River

'Church congregants are warned to avoid the rivers when performing their rituals especially when they do not know how to swim.'


The families of five church congregants are reeling after a child and four men drowned in a river on Saturday afternoon during a sangoma ritual.

Church congregants who had visited the Vet River on the R719 Wesselsbron /Bultfontein road were performing a ritual when a 12-year-old girl, Kelebohile Kototsa was swept away.

Details remain sketchy, but it’s understood that Kototsa’s mother was performing rituals in the water when she lost hold of her daughter.

Four men, Tefo Katotsa (39), Tshediso Manong ( 29), Tshepo Moleleki (34) and Shemanyane (37), had seen the child slip away and decided to enter the river to rescue her, but they also drowned.

“Church congregants are warned to avoid the rivers to do their rituals especially when they do not know how to swim,” said the police in a statement.

The Saps Divers Unit led by lieutenant general Conrad Fouche is continuing to search for the five bodies.

This is not the first time congregants have lost their lives while praying at the rivers.

In January five men drowned while taking part in a church ritual at a dam in Stinkwater, north of Pretoria.

This is a developing story.

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