Shower shocker

2013-05-28 00:00

NOT only are Copesville residents forced to go without electricity for days at a time, but their taps have become electricity conductors and their fences electrified.

On Sunday night, Zak Khan’s son Zia (nine) was having a shower when he received an electric shock while holding the taps.

“I was in the lounge and I heard him scream,” Khan said yesterday.

“When I got there, I saw him stuck to the tap and he could not let go. I grabbed him and pulled him off,” he said.

Zia was the second person to be shocked in the shower. A few days earlier, Khan’s wife Farzana also had an electrical current go through her arm. But it was not as bad as Zia’s experience, she said.

“We’ve been getting tingly feelings whenever we touched the taps for a while now,” Khan said.

He attributed the problem to illegal electricity connections. Outside his house is a mini sub-station. The cover was removed by municipal workers for repairs, but it has never been replaced, he said.

Residents of a nearby informal settlement have made illegal connections to the wires that are now exposed.

“My cat was electrocuted a month ago, and I sent officials an SMS, asking whether they would only act once a person had died. They didn’t respond, and a month later my son was electrocuted in the shower,” Khan said.

After the incident, which left Zia with bruises on his hands, he said he tried to get municipal officials to address the illegal connections.

“An official came in to take a reading on my taps, and we found that they had electricity flowing through them,” he said.

The current running through Khan’s home was so high that lights remained switched on even when turned off at the mains.

He has resorted to covering his taps with duct tape.

Gavin Burn, an electrician from Gavton Electrical, said he had heard of instances where people were electrocuted while in the bath or shower.

“The wires contact the pipes, and water and electricity do not react well together,” he said.

Khan said the illegal connections regularly left the entire Opal Terrace area in darkness for three days a week.

Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma said the municipality made every effort to deal with electricity theft, and its staff were sometimes shot at while removing illegal connections.

“You cannot blame the municipality for the dangerous wires connected by electricity thieves and the resultant fatalities thereof,” he said.

“We have to replace box covers regularly, as they are removed again and again. We need assistance from the community to deal with electricity theft.”

He said they would attend to Khan’s matter and replace the box cover.

“But, I bet you it will be removed again in no time,” Zuma said.


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