GEORGE NEWS - George Municipality is undertaking an investigation relating to occupational health and safety which will be submitted to the Department of Labour following the death of a young child who was electrocuted in Thembalethu on Saturday 17 August.
The nine-year-old boy from Gushindoda informal settlement (Mandela Village) in Zone 8 in Thembalethu was electrocuted allegedly while playing with wires of an illegal electricity cable connection. The police are also investigating the incident.
The George Community Forum chairperson, Xolisani Booi expressed shock at the incident. He said the municipality is reluctant to solve electricity problems in Mandela Village. "We are shocked and very disappointed by this incident. We had hoped that the electricity problems in Thembalethu would not have reached a point where a life has been lost. We had numerous protests in this area over service delivery, however there are still no solutions to this matter."
Booi said they will be requesting a meeting with the Mandela Village committee and will look for a way forward to resolve the issue with the municipality.
Paul Gerber, director for Electro-technical Services, expressed his condolences on behalf of the George Municipality to the family of the child and reiterated the inherent dangers of illegal connections.
Municipal spokesperson Chantel Edwards-Klose confirmed the municipality's investigation.
"The transformer that supplied the electricity which caused the death via illegal connections, was installed on 1 August in this area. The Electro-technical Services Department will only install equipment when they are 100% certain that there are no illegal connections - this is to ensure the safety of municipal officials working on such equipment. All illegal leads in this area were cleared on 1 August and the CSP transformer installed in this instance is meant to be more robust against vandalism. The CSP dransformer’s LV box was illegally opened using an angle grinder and subsequently damaged with illegal leads connected."
She said the community leaders and residents of this area have been duly warned on several occasions by municipal officials regarding the dangers of illegal connections to children and animals.
Illegal connections should be reported to 044 803 9222 or 044 801 9222 or after hours on 044 801 6300.
• The municipality issued a press statement earlier this week regarding the danger of illegal connections:
Media Release: Issued George Municipality, 27 August 2019
For immediate Release: Danger of Illegal Connections
George Municipality appeals to the residents of George to report any illegal electrical connections they are aware of as this practice has led to fatalities with most recently a 9 year old child losing his life.
Mr Trevor Botha, Municipal Manager of George, says the highly dangerous conditions caused by illegal connections, cannot be emphasized enough. “I am deeply concerned for the lives of innocent children, adults as well as animals. The loss of a young life as happened in August this year should never take place. I appeal to our citizens to prevent this danger, report illegal connections so that they are removed.”
Botha said legal consumers should seriously consider how these illegal connections affect them and their families. An illegal connection not only puts the perpetrator in danger of electrocution, risking injury and death but also the rest of the community.
These connections lie across pathways and walkways where anyone passing can easily be electrocuted. An additional risk is that illegally connected wires can also make contact with other items such as roofs, gutters and washing lines, making these items live and able to conduct electricity.
The human body can only withstand about 50 milli-ampere (less than 1% of the current drawn by an average kettle) through it, before a medical condition called ventricular fibrillation sets in.
To safeguard people against this, each house with legal electricity and a tariff meter is fitted with an earth leakage protection unit.
Children can easily be killed, due to their lower weight, as a result of illegal connections not having earth leakage protection.
George Municipality can simply not keep up with the high costs of replacing transformers that can cost between R50 000 to R60 000 per unit. Due to a limited budget, that could mean that people that have waited a long time for legal electricity cannot be supplied as the funds have to be utilized for repairs and vandalism.
An electricity connection is considered illegal when it is connected to the George Municipal network without the organisation’s permission. Wires are connected to a mini-substation or overhead pole. The forms of electricity theft include illegal connections, illegal electrification schemes and meter tampering and bypassing. These illegal electrical thefts are mostly in areas where illegal informal structures are built.
Where people have connected themselves illegally, George Municipality will continue to actively find the perpetrators and lay criminal charges against them. In terms of the Criminal Procedures Act, interference with and the damage to Municipal property, could be regarded as sabotage and should someone be found guilty of such an offence, a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years can follow.
uMasipala waseGeorge ucela kubahlali baseGeorge ukuba baxele naluphi na uqhagamshelo lombane olungekho mthethweni abanolwazi lwalo, kuba esi senzo siye sabangela ukufa okubandakanya umntwana oneminyaka eli- 9 othe walahlekelwa bubomi bakhe kutshanje.
uMnu. Trevor Botha, uMphathi kaMasipala waseGeorge uthi iimeko zeengozi eziphezulu ezibangelwa luqhagamshelo lombane olungekho mthethweni, alunakugxininiswa ngokwaneleyo. Ndixhalabe kakhulu ngobomi babantwana abangenatyala, abantu abadala kunye nezilwanyana. Ukuphulukana nobomi bomntwana njengoko kwenzekile kwinyanga yeThupha kulo nyaka akufanelanga kwehle. Ndiyabongoza kubemi ukuba bathintele le ngozi, xela uqhagamshelo lombane olungekho mthethweni ukuze lususwe.
uBotha uthe abathengi abasemthethweni kufuneka baqwalasele ukuba uqhagamshelwano olungekho mthethweni lubachaphazela njani na kunye neentsapho zabo. Uqhagamshelo olungekho mthethweni alufaki menzi wobubi kuphela engozini yokubulawa ngumbane, ingozi yokulimala nokufa kodwa uluNtu luphela.
Olu qhagamshelo lulele ezindleleni nakwindledlana zokuhamba apho nabani na odlulayo anokubulawa ngumbane. Ingozi engaphezulu kukuba iingcingo eziqhagamshelwe ngokungekho mthethweni zingenza unxibelelwano nezinye izinto ezinjengophahla, imivalo kunye namacingo okuxhoma impahla, zenze ezi zinto zibe nombane kwaye zinikezele ngombane.
Umzimba womntu ungamelana noqukuqelo lombane olungama-50 ee ‘milli-ampere’ (nganeno kwepesenti yoqukuqelo e-1% etsalwa yiketile yomgangatho ophakathi) oludlula kuwo phambi kokuqalisa kwemeko yonyango ebizwa ngokuba yi ‘ventricular fibrillation’. Ukukhusela abantu koku, indlu nganye enombane osemthethweni nesixhobo sokulinganisa ifakwe iyunithi yokhuseleko enocingo lombane elifakwe kolunye ucingo.
Abantwana bangabulawa lula, ngenxa yobunzima babo obusezantsi , ngenxa yoqhagamshelo olungekho mthethweni olungenacingo lokhuseleko lufakwe kunye kolunye ucingo.
Abantwana bangabulawa lula, ngenxa yobuncinci bobunzima babo, ngenxa yokuba uqhagamshelo olungekho mthethweni olunayunithi yokhuselo yolunye ucingo lombane
uMasipala waseGeorge akanakumelana neendleko eziphezulu zokutshintsha iziguquli ezingaxabisa phakathi kwama- R50 000 ukuya kuma- R60 000 ngeyunithi. Ngenxa yohlahlo lwabiwo -mali olulinganiselweyo, oko kuyakuthetha ukuba abantu abebelindele umbane osemthethweni ixesha elide abanakubonelelwa kuba imali kumele isetyenziselwe ukulungisa kunye nokonakalisa okuyinkohlakalo.
Uqhagamshelo lombane luthathwa njengolungekho mthethweni xa luqhagamshelwe kuthungelwano lukaMasipala waseGeorge ngaphandle kwemvume yombutho. Iingcingo zoqhagamshelo kwisikhululo sombane esincinci okanye kwiipali eziphezulu. Iindlela zobusela bombane ziquka uqhagamshelo olungekho mthethweni, iinkqubo zofakelo lombane olungekho mthethweni kunye nobhucabhuco lwesixhobo sokulinganisa kunye noqhagamshelo oluvumela uqukuqelo lombane xa iingcingo ezinkulu zivaliwe. Obu busela bombane ongekho mthethweni buninzi kwiindawo apho kwakhiwe izakhiwo zamatyotyombe.
Apho abantu baziqhagamshele ngokungekho mthethweni, uMasipala waseGeorge uya kuqhubeka ukufumana ngenkuthalo abenzi bobubi kwaye abeke izimangalo ngakubo. NgokoMthetho weeNkqubo zoLwaphulo -mthetho, ukubhucabhuca kunye nomonakaliso kwipropati kaMasipala, kungathathwa njengokonakaliswa ngabom kwaye ukuba ubani ufunyenwe enetyala lolwaphulo- mthetho olunjalo, elona xesha lokuvalelwa entolongweni leminyaka engama-30 lungalandela.
Uqhagamshelo olungekho mthethweni lungaxelwa kwa- 044 803 9222 okanye kwa- 044 801 9222 emva kweeyure zomsebenzi kwa- 044 801 6300.
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