Tragic end to a young life

2020-02-06 06:01

BM informal settlement residents are appealing to the City of Cape Town to fast-track the housing development in the area.

This follows the tragic death of a seven-year-old boy on Friday 31 January. It is alleged that Olwethu Dyarhiwe was electrocuted while playing with his friends a few metres from his home. It is believed he touched a shack that was “badly connected” to the power grid.

Community leader Thobile Funani described Dyarhiwe’s death as a reminder of their poor living conditions. He complained about overcrowding in the area and increasing illegal electricity connections.

“We suspect illegal connection caused his death because when we touched the shack we could feel that there was live electricity that was touching the zinc. We got an electric shock when we touched the door handle,” he stated.

Funani said other shacks in the area don’t have electricity boxes because they were built under power lines, while others are on a wetland.

He said they have been fighting for the relocation of people to new houses in Mfuleni, but their appeal fell on deaf ears. He added that some residents have been in the area for more than two decades.

Olwethu’s father Mlungiseleli Halu said he cannot believe that his son is no more.

He said shortly before the incident they visited a local shopping mall. Little did he know he was walking with his son for the last time. “The last time I saw him he was playing inside the yard as we had just arrived from the mall. A few minutes later I saw my neighbours coming into my shack,” he said. “They told me my son is dead.”

Halu said he could not believe it until he saw his corpse. “When I first saw him it looked like he was sleeping. I thought he was still alive. I shook him but he didn’t move. I pulled and laid him down on his back,” he stated.

Halu described his son as a humble and a very active child. “I don’t know what to say. It’s like I’m dreaming. I didn’t expect him to die so young,” he said.

Khayelitsha police station spokesperson Const Lowellan West confirmed the incident. He added an inquest docket was opened.

He said according to reports it appears that a live electrical wire was badly connected to the shack and that caused the shack to be a danger when touched. “It would appear that the bad connection to the shack caused the boy’s death after he touched it,” said West.

Ward 93 councillor Thando Pimpi said he is aware of the challenges faced by BM residents.

He said he is not sure when will they move to another area. He added that people are being moved from different areas across the city.

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