SAPS Free State divers recover the body of a sangoma who drowned during a healing water ritual on Friday, 15 December.

CAPE TOWN Police have warned communities not to use open water for traditional ceremonies if they are unable to swim.

This after two men‚ including a sangoma‚ drowned during a traditional ritual in the Free State on Friday evening.

Seven men took part in the ceremony‚ which involved walking into the Sand River in Virginia around 6pm.

According to a Thabong police spokesperson‚ three of the men got into difficulty immediately after walking into the river.

The spokesperson said one of the three men was rescued but the 27-year-old traditional healer and an 18-year-old could not withstand the depth of the river and drowned.

SAPS divers were able to retrieve the bodies on Saturday morning.

The bodies were taken to Welkom state mortuary and an inquest docket has been opened.

Acting Virginia Station Commander‚ Lt Col Thabo Coobi‚ warned community members: “The most important rule of water is that everyone should respect water and the surrounding environments. People should refrain from using the river if they cannot swim‚ especially if there is no one who can act as a lifesaver in cases of drowning.”


PHOTO: Image: Supplied by SAPS


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