As missing WUC employees are feared drowned
Fisherman suspects ‘ancestral snakes’ are behind the disappearance
Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) management were this week clueless of the whereabouts of three of their employees who went missing at the Gaborone Dam on Monday. By Wednesday evening, hope of recovering the three men who are feared to have drowned in the dam had waned as various churches and well-wishers united in hymns and prayers to seek spiritual intervention.
WUC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Godfrey Mudanga told a media briefing that the three employees went missing after they had gone on routine inspection of the dam on Monday. He said by knock-off time at 1630hrs, the three men had not returned to the office and that they could not be reached on their cellphones as they were off.
“Colleagues followed them to the dam where they only located their vehicle. This was immediately reported to Botswana Police and since then WUC and the police have been working together to locate the employees,” Mudanga said and added: “Thus far we consider the employees to be missing.” He said the incident was the first of its kind in the corporation’s 40 years of operation.
Vice President Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe and the Permanent Secretary to the President, Eric Molale on Wednesday joined the search party and the family at the dam where they offered their condolences.
The disappearance of the men and their boat has caused anxiety and sparked superstitious overtones among members of the community as some fear they may have been devoured by water creatures. “We’ve heard of huge snakes that live in the dam and sometimes they are spotted in the hills in Moshupa as well as other dams. They are ancestral creatures that do not appear often,” said fisherman Mogomotsi Magosi of Old Naledi.
Another well-wisher, Nonofo Mpedi believes the boat may have capsized and drowned the men. “It could be that the men had put their seat belts on and are holding the boat down in the deep ends of the dam,” he suggested.
Acting Deputy CEO Operations at WUC, Gaselemogwe Senai said apart from crocodiles, the dam did not have any other dangerous creatures. He ruled out the possibility of a crocodile attack as he said the reptiles shied from motor boats.
Matida Mmipi, the WUC communications Manager said Police and Botswana Defence Force (BDF) scuba divers have since camped at the dam and that power generators have also been mounted as the search continues. “We are not yet in a position to reveal names of the missing employees as we are still notifying relatives,” she said.