According to the City of Cape Town, the man had been making a connection to the City’s water main at 4am.
The 44-year-old man had dug a hole in the front yard of a house in Salvia Street, Lentegeur when the paving collapsed on top of him, and water from the burst pipe filled the hole and he drowned.
Mayco Member for Area South, Councillor Eddie Andrews, confirmed the incident, saying it was “an attempt to illegally connect to the City’s water system”.
“After cutting the supply line, the hole that he had dug to access the main was filled with water and he drowned.
“The City would like to offer its sympathy to those connected with the victim, and discourages others who might want to attempt something similar.”
It took emergency rescue staff nearly five hours to dig out his body, as they had to break through the road and pavement.
The City’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson, Theo Layne, explains: “The victim had become trapped in a hole that he had dug. Unfortunately, he had already passed away upon their arrival.
“The Fire and Rescue Services’ Technical Rescue Squad was called in and used specialised equipment to extract the victim.”
The Daily Voice attempted to speak to the man’s family at the scene, but they declined to comment.
His body was removed just after 9am.
A neighbour says the man’s death has left them puzzled.
“I don’t understand why he was digging in the middle of the night. You work on water pipes during the day. Such a stupid way to die,” says the neighbour.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirms an inquest docket was opened for investigation.
“Yesterday [Wednesday] just after 4am, Lentegeur police attended to an inquest in Salvia Street.
“According to reports the deceased, a 44-year-old male, went to fix a water leak on the property.
“He had dug a hole from inside the property to under the pavement to access the water meter. In the process the deceased had cut the water pipes which burst, causing the ground to collapse and trap him.
“The deceased drowned during the incident. An inquest has been registered,” Van Wyk said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Constable Ricardo Louw of Lentegeur Serious and Violent Crimes Unit at 082 411 2382.