Family feared illegal connections, but they killed boy

2014-01-25 00:00

A MOTHER who took care to warn her children of the dangers of illegal electrical cables, and refused to have one at her home because of the danger they posed, has lost her son to electrocution by an illegal connection.

The teenager died in Copesville on Thursday night.

Thabani Zondo (14) had been playing soccer on the street with friends when he went to fetch the ball after it rolled down a bank into a stream.

However, what he did not realise as he stepped into the water, was the danger of being shocked by the live electrical cables that crisscross the stream. Thabani was electrocuted and died at the scene.

Pietermaritzburg K9 Search and Rescue unit’s Lieutenant Jack Haskins told Weekend Witness that the retrieval of Thabani’s body had been a challenging operation because of the risks the live wires in the water posed.

“We had to wait for the electricity department to switch off the electricity so we could take his body away,” said Haskins.

ER24 paramedics at the scene were also unable to go near Thabani because of the risks.

Thabani’s mother, Bongiwe Zondo, said one of his friends had come to tell her the devastating news.

“I have been warning my kids about the illegal connections around here. We use candles, paraffin and gas stoves to cook in the house because I don’t want these connections,” said Zondo.

She added that her child was helpful in the house. “When I was sick, he would cook, and clean and iron his younger brothers’ uniforms. He would take good care of me. He wanted to be a doctor, even though he played soccer,” said Zondo.

Thabani’s aunt Busisiwe Hlongwa asked how many more children must be electrocuted before the municipality installs legal electricity in the area.

Weekend Witness visited the area to find a tangle of illegal connections, both overhead and underfoot, still there yesterday.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said police have opened an inquest docket.

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said they have established a multi-task team that includes law enforcement agencies to fight elec­tricity theft. “The municipaly has started electrifying informal settlements because we noted that we are losing lives as a result of illegal connections,” said Nkosi.

In other incidents of deaths due to illegal connections, The Witness reported in July last year that Aviwe Vava (6), of the Eastern Cape, who was visiting her parents at the Jika Joe settlement slipped and was electrocuted as she grabbed a live wire in an attempt to break her fall.

In September, Moshe Motoung (36) was electrocuted in Jika Joe and Lucky Mzila was found lying dead in a ditch in Regina Road, Northdale, on top of a number of illegal electrical cables that snaked their way to a nearby informal settlement.

Esther Mungal (67) of Copesville narrowly escaped death after being shocked by an illegal connection running through her yard.

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