Child electrocuted in Motherwell

2015-11-04 06:00
Nontobeko Futha from Powerline whose child Solakha (3) was electrocuted, is seeking help from good Samaritans to bury the child. Here she is with her 7-month-old baby. Photo: NCEBA DLADLA

Nontobeko Futha from Powerline whose child Solakha (3) was electrocuted, is seeking help from good Samaritans to bury the child. Here she is with her 7-month-old baby. Photo: NCEBA DLADLA

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AN illegal electrical connection claimed the life of a 3-year-old girl at the Powerline informal settlement in NU8 Motherwell last Wednesday.

Now the family of five, who depend on the gogo’s old-age pension payout and one child support grant, need assistance to bury the child.

The untimely death of little Solakha Futha by electrocution because of izinyoka (illegal electricity connectors) has exacerbated the problem that this community of shack-dwellers is facing.

“The sad part of this already worst case scenario, is that the grandmother of the child who died, does not even use stolen electricity. She makes fire with wood to cook and uses candles to light her shack,” Ward 57 Councillor Thembile Nkosiyaphantsi said.

Solakha’s mother, Nontobeko Futha, said, “My mother, Liziwe Futha, was hanging washing in the backyard when she noticed that the electric wires that crisscrossed our shack were loose and broken. While she was busy she felt she was being shocked.

“She (Liziwe) hated the illegal connections and left the backyard to use the line in front of the house. As she was talking about it, Solakha ran out in front of her to the line in front and fell on the ground. She was electrocuted,” a sobbing Nontobeko said, adding that the multiple electric wires were also exposed.

Solakha’s gogo started shouting frantically at the neighbours who were doing illegal connections, saying that they must come and see what they had done.

According to Nontobeko some of her neighbours admitted that they knew her mother did not use electricity through illegal means, and had promised to take responsibility for helping the family bury the child.

Councillor Thembile Nkosiyaphantsi said, “Two ladies did come with the gogo and asked that we assist in the burial of the child. I said no! We can’t do that. If they admit that they were guilty, they must go further and find ways to assist the needy family.”

Nkosiyaphantsi added that he also advised that they collect money and ask for donations.

Through Nkosiyaphantsi’s assistance, the child was kept at the government mortuary while the family sought the means for burial.

Nontobeko said she was not sure whether the family would follow the councillor’s advice to seek donations from community members.

“Some were very drunk when they came for prayers last Friday. One even said we should not worry as though we had lost a breadwinner - it was just a child,” said Nontobeko, who was carrying her 7-month-old baby on her back. She told Express Indaba she had two older children who live with relatives in Port Alfred, while she and her two younger children stayed with her mother and two siblings.

According to the councillor, this was the second death of a child as a result of electric shock in this community of about 900 people who need electricity. Two more little children were seriously injured when they were electrocuted recently.

“These people pull electricity from the municipal pole which, owing to the heavy current, cannot handle it anymore. Some use electricity illegally from formal houses and they pay for it. This is a big problem facing this community. We tell them to stop it but they continue to do it nonetheless,” said Nkosiyaphantsi.

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