“We will not rest until we find them.”
These are the words of a Pietermaritzburg father whose two daughters were swept away during the KZN floods last month.
Layla Hawazi (24) and her younger sister Nusra Hawazi (19) were swept off the Apollo low level bridge in Peace Valley on April 14.
Their bodies have not been found and so the search continues.
They were on their way to work and school when the incident happened. The siblings crossed the bridge every day to get to where their taxi stops.
Last Thursday, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said more than 435 people had lost their lives in the floods, about 63 people are still missing and over 6 000 people were left homeless.
The sisters’ father, Ishibahombewa Hawazi, told The Witness that even though it has been a long time since they went missing, the family still hopes to find them.
He said they have also started looking at government mortuaries across the province after being advised to do so by the investigating officer in the case.
“We have been to the Pinetown and Phoenix government mortuaries and we are going to others throughout the province until we find them.
“What has also helped us and gave us strength is that when we were going to the mortuaries, there were other families who were still looking for [their family members], and they gave us hope because now we know that we are not alone,” he said.
Hawazi said finding his daughters will help him and his family get closure. He said the search for them is being conducted by the South African National Defence Force rescue team together with the community.
“The rescue team comes twice a week and they do a search with a helicopter.
“We have been waiting for divers who will get into the water where the children were last seen, but unfortunately we were told that there are none available at the moment.
“The residents have since started a WhatsApp group together with the ward councillor, and they meet every day at 9 am and start searching with the hope of finding them, in case they got stuck in the water since there are trees and other things,” he said.
He said his family is grateful for the amazing support they have received.