Three injured in Verulam explosion

2016-12-22 06:01
Construction workers attending to another worker who was injured when an explosive device exploded in his face in Oakford. Photo: SUPPLIED

Construction workers attending to another worker who was injured when an explosive device exploded in his face in Oakford. Photo: SUPPLIED

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THREE people were seriously injured after an explosive device was accidentally set off in Oakford, Verulam on 14 December.

Two children, aged five and six years old, were severely injured due to the explosion that occurred near their home.

The father of the two children Sabelo Nxumalo is now demanding that the demolition company take action and compensate his family for the injuries. The 30-year-old distraught father said his children were playing outside in their yard when the explosive device, which is usually used to break rocks, exploded and struck the children.

Nxumalo said the demolition company was removing rocks to construct a new road in Oakford and accidentally left one explosive device at the construction site.

“I am prepared to take further steps against the company. Last week an employee from the demolition company was working on site removing all the refuse and debris. My children were outside playing. We then heard a loud bang and we went out to investigate. I saw my children lying on the ground bleeding.

"One of my daughter’s intestines [could be seen] and the other was severely injured on her legs and face.”

Nxumalo accused the company of being negligent and not adhering to the safety rules and regulations.

He said the device was buried outside his home and the construction worker who was on duty at the time burnt the debris ,therefore it exploded causing huge stones hit the two girls.

One child has been discharged from hospital, but the other and the construction worker are still receiving medical attention due to the severity of their injuries.

“We were not even consulted and told that the company will be breaking stones using dangerous explosives. Oakford is a residential area, the company should have informed us in advance. My daughter is undergoing sensitive surgery and part of her intestines had to be removed. She is fighting for her life in hospital.”

Another resident Siyabonga Zungu, 40, said: “We signed a petition when the project started threes ago opposing the road construction because the company was using explosives.

“We sent letters to the management of the company requesting a meeting with them. We were concerned about our children’s safety. The company shrugged it off and ignored us.

Ward 59 councillor Linda Majola said: “A construction worker was burning the refuse at the site when the fire accidentally spread to the area where the explosive device was buried. Some of the houses were affected and windows were damaged. I then instructed the company to repair the windows that were damaged. This was negligent on the side of the company.”

Police spokesperson in Verulam Captain Mark Prakasim confirmed the incident.

“Police are investigating a case of negligent discharging of an explosive device. A man and two children were rushed to hospital in a critical condition.”

The Weekly contacted the company for comment. A woman from the company requested that queries be emailed to her and she said lawyers representing the company are working on the matter.

Thereafter further attempts were made to get comment from the company representative, but no comment was made at time of going to press.

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