Alleged illegal electricity connection kills man

2015-02-10 00:00

A MAN who allegedly connected electricity to his shack illegally died yesterday ­trying to reconnect his power.

Menzeki Thembani has become the latest victim of the thousands of illegal electricity connections in Pietermaritzburg.

Thembani (26) of Swapo informal settlement, where he was renting a shack, was electrocuted by live wires and died yesterday morning in a field on Brixham Road.

According to his relative Nokwanele Bhunga, Thembani had returned from work to find that there was no power at his shack and went to check what had ­happened.

Some residents claimed Thembani was “trying to steal” electricity but Bhunga said he was “just checking” what was wrong with the meter from which he ­powered his shack illegally.

His body was found by two passers-by who alerted his family and the police.

“His untimely death has left us ­devastated. We are scared to tell his fiancée who is in Lesotho. He was such good ­person and it hasn’t sunk in that he’s gone,” said Bhunga.

A pair of pliers was found at the scene. Live wires could be seen crossing New Greytown Road to the informal settlement.

Three people, including a five-year-old child, were electrocuted and died at Jika Joe and Swapo informal settlements last month.

Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said it was a concern that people continued losing their lives and appealed to informal settlement dwellers to stop electrifying their households illegally.

“There is no justification for illegal connection. We understand that people are frustrated and desperate for electricity but they must be patient because government has plans to ensure people have electricity and decent houses,” Mabaso said.

“It is sad that so many people lose their lives while we have warnings about the danger of illegal electricity. We have ­provided electricity to almost 89% of the KZN population. Their turn is coming and we appeal for patience.

“Damaging infrastructure like digging the road is taking the government ­backward. We should be using money for other new projects. People must change their attitude and behaviour.”

• khanyisani.dlomo@witness.co.za

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