Illegal connections kill again in Manor

2014-12-15 00:00

MANOR area has proven to be Pietermaritzburg’s “field of death”.

A man was electrocuted by illegal connections and died at the weekend — just two weeks after another man died the same way on Echo Road, while his friend was injured by exposed wires there.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said the man, believed to have been taking a short cut, was walking in the bushes there when he stumbled on electric wires and was electrocuted on Saturday.

“He suffered severe head burn injures and was declared dead on the scene.

“Paramedics had to wait for Eskom to switch off the main electricity power so they could attend to the patient,” Meiring said.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed the incident and said an inquest docket had been opened.

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

Residents have been raising concern over the issue of illegal connections in the area that continue to claim lives.

Councillor Naleni Atwaru said she was aware of the incident and said she has been reporting a wide range of electricity problems to the electricity department, municipal manager and mayor for a long time.

“They are well aware of the illegal connections in the area and the problem still persists. The death is regretted, and could have been avoided had the appropriate action been taken,” Atwaru said.

“I implore the residents to [come] forward by providing affidavits and/or petitions to identify who the culprits are that are doing these illegal connections and help blow the whistle on this illegal activity in the interests of saving further lives.”

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said: “The municipality will investigate the matter. People are discouraged against illegal connections.”

Previously The Witness reported that Msunduzi Municipality was losing more than R120 million per annum as a result of unscrupulous power rogues.

There have been a number of deaths in other informal settlements around Pietermaritzburg at Jika Joe, Copesville, Swapo, and Regina Road as a result of illegal connections.

The Witness has reported on at least nine such deaths since September last year.

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