Fam­ily feared il­le­gal con­nec­tions, but they killed boy

Weekend Witness - - News - MLONDI RADEBE

A MOTHER who took care to warn her chil­dren of the dan­gers of il­le­gal elec­tri­cal ca­bles, and re­fused to have one at her home be­cause of the dan­ger they posed, has lost her son to elec­tro­cu­tion by an il­le­gal con­nec­tion.

The teenager died in Copesville on Thurs­day night.

Tha­bani Zondo (14) had been play­ing soc­cer on the street with friends when he went to fetch the ball af­ter it rolled down a bank into a stream.

How­ever, what he did not re­alise as he stepped into the wa­ter, was the dan­ger of be­ing shocked by the live elec­tri­ cal ca­bles that criss­cross the stream. Tha­bani was elec­tro­cuted and died at the scene.

Pi­eter­mar­itzburg K9 Search and Res­cue unit’s Lieu­tenant Jack Hask­ins told Weekend Wit­ness that the re­trieval of Tha­bani’s body had been a chal­leng­ing op­er­a­tion be­cause of the risks the live wires in the wa­ter posed.

“We had to wait for the elec­tric­ity depart­ment to switch off the elec­tric­ity so we could take his body away,” said Hask­ins.

ER24 paramedics at the scene were also un­able to go near Tha­bani be­cause of the risks.

Tha­bani’s mother, Bongiwe Zondo, said one of his friends had come to tell her the dev­as­tat­ing news.

“I have been warn­ing my kids about the il­le­gal con­nec­tions around here. We use can­dles, paraf­fin and gas stoves to cook in the house be­cause I don’t want th­ese con­nec­tions,” said Zondo.

She added that her child was help­ful in the house. “When I was sick, he would cook, and clean and iron his younger brothers’ uni­forms. He would take good care of me. He wanted to be a doc­tor, even though he played soc­cer,” said Zondo.

Tha­bani’s aunt Bu­sisiwe Hlongwa asked how many more chil­dren must be elec­tro­cuted be­fore the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­stalls le­gal elec­tric­ity in the area.

Weekend Wit­ness vis­ited the area to find a tan­gle of il­le­gal con­nec­tions, both over­head and un­der­foot, still there yes­ter­day.

Po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain Thu­lani Zwane said po­lice have opened an in­quest docket.

Msun­duzi mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Mx­olisi Nkosi said they have es­tab­lished a multi­task team that in­cludes law en­force­ment agen­cies to fight elec­tric­ity theft. “The mu­nic­i­paly has started elec­tri­fy­ing in­for­mal set­tle­ments be­cause we noted that we are los­ing lives as a re­sult of il­le­gal con­nec­tions,” said Nkosi.

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