Children discover seasoned swimmers body

Ganesan Rammie Naidoo

Ganesan Rammie Naidoo

Published Feb 23, 2024


Three Chatsworth children are receiving counselling after they discovered the body of a 78-year-old man who drowned on Valentine’s Day at the bottom of the Bayview Swimming Pool.

Ganesan Rammie Naidoo, a retired businessman, was also a well-known pastor at the Chatsworth Family Church in Westcliff.

He frequented the local pool almost daily in a bid to keep fit.

Dinese Harrikissoon, of Havenside, said she and her family saw Naidoo jumping into the pool at around 10am.

“My husband and I, our three children, aged 6, 8 and 12, and my sister-in-law, reached the pool at 9:30am. We did not send the kids to school as they had Valentine’s Day celebrations. We noticed Naidoo as he was the only other person at the pool.

“He was wearing dark pink shorts and goggles. He did not have a T-shirt on. He told my nephew to be careful and not to go in the deep end, but rather play in the shallow side.

“At about 10am, we looked for Naidoo but didn't see him anywhere. His bag and clothes were still on the bench and my husband said he may have gone to the bathroom.

“We all went into the water and came out at around 11.15am to have snacks. My nephew, 12, went to the top of the stairs and that was when he spotted Naidoo, whose body was at the bottom of the pool,” she said.

According to the Harrikissoon family, lifeguards were nowhere to be seen.

“They were in the tower. There were two cleaners sitting under the tree near the deep end. My nephew screamed out for my husband, telling him there was someone lying on the floor in the deep end. At first we thought he was playing a prank. But we went to look and saw Naidoo at the bottom of the pool. We screamed and this alerted the cleaner.

“That was when a lifeguard showed up and jumped into the water. He attempted to pull Naidoo out. His face was blue and his stomach had blown up. We knew he was dead. They put him on a stretcher and took him to a room. After more than 15 minutes, paramedics arrived. The children were traumatised.

“We were in shock, as we had been swimming not knowing that Naidoo had already drowned. For about an hour or so, we were in the shallow end swimming with Naidoo’s dead body in the same pool,” said Harrikissoon.

She said they did not see Naidoo struggling in the water at any point.

“Naidoo’s death could have been avoided. If the lifeguards were present, they could have saved him. This happened because of the negligence of our so-called government workers that sit back and do absolutely nothing. They get paid to do nothing.

“If the lifeguards were alert and manning the pool effectively, I believe Naidoo would still be alive. We offer our condolences to his family and hope that they demand a full investigation so that other lives can be saved.”

Gugu Sisilana, eThekwini Municipality’s spokesperson, said they were aware of the drowning, but could not comment or speculate on the circumstances because the matter was subject to a police investigation.

“Police are investigating what transpired and pending the outcome of the autopsy, police will make further determination on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“Drowning incidents are unique therefore the risks associated vary from incident to incident, and this will be determined by the pending police investigation. Once the police investigation has been concluded, the recommendations outlined will form part of the risk mitigation,” she added.

Mervyn Naidoo, a reporter at the Sunday Tribune, said his father was a seasoned swimmer and described him as being as “fit as a fiddle.”

“Whenever he had spare time, he would go for a swim, as he lived across from the pool. He had no underlying health conditions so we were shocked when lifeguards came to our home to notify us of his death,” Mervyn added.

He said the post-mortem results on Monday, revealed the cause of death as drowning.

Mervyn said: “We need to know whether the lifeguards responded in time or did enough to save my father. We won't know until police investigations are complete. Bayview police are investigating the matter and we will await the outcome of the investigation.”

Naidoo was described by his family as a kind hearted man who had a passion to serve the community, which he did until his death. He was laid to rest on Sunday.