Chipper victim mourned
email@example.com “IT all happened so fast – one minute he was there and within seconds he was gone, with no time to scream for help or anything,” explained Mulisa Mabudafhasi, co-worker of the late Mokhithi Moeti .
He told the Pretoria News that Moeti was shredding the tree branches into the chipper machine, but one of the branches got entangled in his glove and in seconds his whole body was shredded in the machine along with the branches.
“I was busy fetching more branches to be shredded and by the time I noticed that his glove was entangled by the branch it was already too late. The machine is too loud and very fast, so there was no way he could hear me,” Madubafhasi said.
Moeti, 25, from Mamelodi, worked at the University of Pretoria’s compost area and died while on duty on Monday. During his memorial service at the Dutch Reformed church in Hatfield yesterday, he was described as a humble, loving and respectful young man.
He was also said to had been an active member of the #OutsourcingMustFall movement.
The workers’ shop steward, Jonas Mahlameane, said Moeti was always on time and willing to help.
“He was the kind of person who listened and did as told… he would even skip his lunch break just to assist his co-workers,” he said.
Mahlameane said it was sad to see him dead, especially with only two weeks left to be made a permanent employee at the university.
His disheartened family said it was also difficult to make peace with the nature of his death.
“We know and understand that people die every day, but the nature of this death is not normal. It is hard to make peace with the fact that we are going to bury dust, it is painful,” said Moeti’s great-grandfather, Patrick Mafumadi.
He said Moeti was the breadwinner in the family as he looked after his grandmother and two sisters.
“This death has literally taken food out of the family’s mouth because there is no more salary coming into the family,” he said.
He added that Tuks management needed to improve their working conditions for workers to ensure an incident like this did not happen again.
University students, Moeti’s colleagues and various organisations attended the memorial service, but most organisation representatives questioned the silence of the university in the matter. They vowed to continue the fight in honour of the dead man’s memory. The family said owing to DNA tests being done, the funeral would be held next Saturday.