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People urged to avoid baptisms in rivers this Easter weekend

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Following fears of possible drownings, the Department of Water and Sanitation has warned people against holding baptism ceremonies in rivers or other large bodies of water this Easter weekend.

“While we respect people’s religious beliefs, it is equally our responsibility as government to alert everyone about the danger associated with baptisms in raging rivers, particularly during this period,” said the department’s spokesperson Sputnik Ratau.

“Being religious should not lead to deaths of innocent people.”

Ratau said the current rainfall in many parts of South Africa was expected to continue, and the water levels in rivers and dams were expected to rise sharply.

“The recent heavy rainfall in some parts of the country made it dangerous to hold baptisms in rivers.

“The safety of everyone is our priority; therefore, we encourage everyone to find alternative ways of having baptisms to ensure their safety,” he said.

“Dams and rivers have undercurrents, and it is dangerous to step into the water when one doesn’t know how deep it is.

“It can be very dangerous and can cause fatal injuries, coupled with the fact that there are floating objects that cannot be seen.”

Ratau pleaded with holidaymakers to enjoy the long weekend responsibly and avoid visiting dams when they are under the influence of alcohol.

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