Electrician shocked by 11 000 volt line

2010-04-26 08:46

Johannesburg – The Nokeng tsa Taemane municipality is facing questions after a 21-year-old electrician was almost shocked to death in Refilwe township outside Cullinan at the weekend.

Ettienne Kruger, an apprentice electrician, had a close call on Saturday afternoon when he was shocked by an 11 000 volt transmission line.

The incident took place a few days after an electrical engineer warned Nokeng in a letter about dangers posed by the municipality neglecting to maintain its electricity network.

The engineer confirmed on Sunday that he had cautioned Nokeng about the issue, but did not want to talk about the matter on record.

It was also learnt reliably that Kruger was not sent out with the necessary safety equipment or specialised voltmeter when he was called out to Refilwe.

After the incident, Kruger was admitted to a Pretoria hospital but had since been released and was recuperating at home.

Bernard Touwen, Kruger’s stepfather, said Kruger could be very glad that the electricity had not “run through his body”.

 “Few people walk after 11 000 volt passes through them. His hand was burnt and his body is sore.”

There was unhappiness in council circles about the service that Komati Electrical delivered to Nokeng. Kruger works for this contractor.

A senior official in Nokeng said on Sunday that Kruger had been “thrown to the wolves”.

 “Nokeng and the company for which he worked (Komati Electrical) are as far as I’m concerned, equally guilty. Nokeng lets the infrastructure collapse and Komati Electrical don’t put safety first.”

There was allegedly great dissatisfaction under officials about the manner in which Nokeng’s financial matters were being run. The maintenance of infrastructure and service delivery were badly neglected.

The Gauteng provincial government last year put Nokeng under financial administration.

But last week, Nokeng purchased an Audi A4 for Anna Digoro, its mayor.

Digoro denied last week that there was dissatisfaction in the Nokeng council and said officials should follow internal procedures and not “run to the media with problems”.

Phalani Motale, Nokeng’s spokesperson, said he was unaware of Saturday’s incident and referred enquiries to Itumeleng Mokate, the acting municipal manger.

Mokate curtly responded by saying she wouldn’t comment. “It is not a suitable time. Call me again on Monday.”

Komati Electrical couldn’t be reached for comment.