UNISA student drowns in pool at Knockando residence, Parktown

A Unisa student drowned at the Knockando residence’s swimming pool on Sunday, March 4, around 2am. The incident happened at an illegal party involving Wits students and visitors who were not members of the Wits community.

Head of Residence Life Robert Sharman confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that there had been an illegal party at the Parktown residence. “Yes a visitor died while the students had an illegal party at around 2am on Sunday, March 4,” he said.

A student who was at the party told Wits Vuvuzela that there was alcohol at the party. He said the deceased, who was drunk, pushed in two people into the swimming pool and, after realising they could not swim, jumped into the swimming pool in an attempt to rescue them. The deceased managed to save one of them and subsequently struggled and drowned.

Vice-chairperson of the Knockando house committee, Sibusiso Ngcobo, said he arrived at the scene after the partygoers had already called an ambulance. However, it had not arrived and some people were trying to resuscitate the Unisa student.

“I found them performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on the deceased for about 40 minutes. I ran and knocked on Robert Sharman’s door to report the incident, and he was already declared deceased when Robert Sharman got to the scene,” Ngcobo said, adding that the ambulance only arrived “around 4 or 5am”.

Sharman would not give details about the Unisa student, and referred Wits Vuvuzela to Shirona Patel, the Wits spokesperson. Patel forwarded Wits Vuvuzela a statement which read:

“…The tragedy occurred during an unauthorised private birthday party which took place at a swimming pool near one of the university’s residences. The young man’s family members have been informed of his passing.

“The matter is under investigation and counselling is being provided for a number of students who witnessed the incident.

“Our deepest sympathies are extended to the family and friends of the young man, and those who knew him well.”


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