Wires kill man in ‘field of death’

2014-12-04 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S “field of death” has struck again.

Manor residents have given a field ­adjacent to the flats this name after yet another person was struck down by illegal connections criss-crossing it.

A Malawian man was electrocuted and died on Tuesday night and his friend ­injured by exposed wires there.

The two are believed to have been taking a short cut.

The illegal connections run from Echo Road substation to the Jika Joe informal settlement.

An eyewitness at the scene, who wanted to remain unnamed, told The Witness that he heard a man screaming three times ­before he died.

“I knew someone was being ­electrocuted when I heard the sound and it took him less than a minute to die. I rushed out of my flat with rubber gumboots to save his friend,” he said.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said they found a young man who said that his friend lay far in the field not moving.

“The man was treated for minor burn injuries while fire services went to retrieve the body due to the scene being unsafe. Once the body was retrieved, paramedics discovered that the man had already ­succumbed to his severe injuries. The ­injured man was treated and transported to hospital,” he said.

The resident claimed that 10 lives have been lost this year in the “field of death”. He said those who had died were unaware of the illegal connections in the field.

“Last month, a man was electrocuted in the field while he tried to run across it to escape from robbers. A woman also died after she was urinating in the field of death,” he said.

The Manor residents are worried about the illegal connections because they have children who play around the dangerous area. Speaking about children, another resident mentioned that an eight-year-old boy was lucky to survive after he was ­electrocuted there. He was in a coma for six days after running into the field to ­retrieve a ball.

“We don’t blame the Jika Joe informal settlement residents because they also need electricity in their households; we blame the municipality for not ensuring that the wires are not reconnected again,” he said.

• siso.naile@witness.co.za

Ward 33 councillor Naleni Atwaru said she had not received a report from any resident about illegal connections, but encouraged all residents to come forward with any details about illegal ­connections on a totally ­confidential basis.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha could not be reached for comment ­yesterday.

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