Minister vows to get to bottom of light mast tragedy
NEWLY appointed Energy Minister David Mahlobo was greeted by tearful women sitting on blankets in a dark room with only a flickering candle mourning the loss of their children.
Mahlobo yesterday visited the scene of the tragedy in Soshanguve, Block X, where five children died when a tall light-mast fell on them while they were playing.
At each of the five houses Mahlobo had a private discussion with the bereaved and the media was asked to leave.
Seven children were playing under the vandalised light structure on Saturday when the bulbs dislodged and came crashing down on them. Four died on the scene and the fifth died later in hospital. Two more children were seriously injured and are recovering in hospital.
The children were aged between six and 12 years old.
The community blamed thieves for dismantling the cables, resulting in the bulbs falling.
Mahlobo, accompanied by Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo, was first greeted by a wreath laying YESTERDAY saw a massive outpouring of public support to assist author of
Jacques Pauw, financially should he be arrested by the State Security Agency (SSA), with the book publisher, NB Publishers, issuing a statement last night thanking the public for “their intense concern”.
Sales of the book which include shocking allegations of irregularities and corruption against President Jacob Zuma have rocketed.
On Thursday, the SSA confirmed that an investigation was under with candles at the bottom of the overhead light where the incident happened.
The tragedy last Saturday afternoon appeared to have been caused by tampering with cables, possibly with criminal intent.
Mahlobo said: “It’s always sad when parents have to bury their offspring, especially at such a tender age.
“The families’ loss also impacts on us because these young children could have been future leaders in the country, but their lives were cut short,” Mahlobo said.
“It is unfortunate that this vandalisa- tion of electricity wires has terminated the lives of innocent souls,” he added.
Mahlobo said, besides conveying their condolences to the bereaved, another reason for their visit was to see the scene for themselves and inspect the area which had been inundated with faulty street lights.
“We might not be hardcore engineers but we could see that they might have been something wrong there.
“There might be issues of vandalism, issue of maintenance and it’s a discussion that we will have with the municipality to make the area safer,” he added.
Mamabolo expressed concern about the poor electricity infrastructure and said more needed to be done by the relevant stakeholders to ensure such a tragedy didn’t occur again.
Mamabolo also said the only way that the families would get proper closure was from the report of the incident.
“The truth is the only thing that will set the families free and give them closure. The truth will also help relevant stakeholders to better prepare and prevent it happening again,” he said.
Asked what would be done in the interim for the community’s safety while the report was compiled, Mamabolo said a thorough discussion with the City of Tshwane was needed to discuss the logistics.
There was also a heavy police presence in the area yesterday.
This after Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga was chased away by the community during the week when he tried to meet the families.
Msimanga couldn’t step out of his car as an angry group threatened to throw stones at him, and had to abandon his visit. Tshwane will pay for the mass funeral to be held today.
Energy Minister David Mahlobo and Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo visit the site of the light mast tragedy where five children died.