Student electrocuted outside house
Mlondi Radebe, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - A KwaZulu-Natal student has died after he slipped and grabbed a live electricity pole outside his home.
Mbongeni “Khehli” Hlengwa was returning home to Imbali after helping friends prepare for a wedding at Sweetwaters.
“We came back at about 23:45 to drop him home,” said his friend, Lindelani “Sgora” Mbanjwa.
“He jumped off [the vehicle] and walked towards the gate.
“It was wet and he slid. When he tried to get up, he held on to the pole.”
Mbanjwa and friends ran to Hlengwa’s aid after realising he had been electrocuted.
“We rushed him to Mbalehle clinic, not aware that he had already died.
“The doctor at the clinic told us that he was dead on arrival,” said a traumatised Mbanjwa.
Hlengwa, 21, was a marketing management student at the Msunduzi Further Education and Training College.
On Saturday morning Eskom workers started digging near the pole. Friends and family watched from a distance.
A Witness reporter at the scene observed smoke coming from the ground and smelt burning wires.
Metres away, inside the family home, Hlengwa’s mother, Nonhlanhla, sat on a mattress, surrounded by friends and neighbours.
Nonhlanhla Hlengwa said she wanted the electricity pole removed from outside her home.
“This is a painful moment for the family. We wish that Eskom would just remove it.
“Every time when I go out, I shall see it and be reminded that my last-born child died there.”
She said that she would miss her son’s cooking, cleaning and eating habits.
“He always enjoyed domestic work, but when it came to gardening he was lazy.
“He used to promise me that he would build a bigger house for me.”
Hlengwa’s brother, Smanga Mbona, added: “He was a dreamer and a hard worker who wanted to start his own business after finishing his studies.
“He was a person who was always positive about life and always made all of us at home laugh”.
Eskom spokesperson Joyce Zingoni said the utility was investigating the matter.
Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said an inquest docket had been opened.
The police will investigate the possibility that Hlengwa might have been struck by lightning.
Hlengwa’s brother mentioned nothing about lightning when he spoke to The Witness.