Girl electrocuted, sister injured while playing with friends in field

Illegal connection to blame for Western Cape tragedy, says Eskom

20 July 2020 - 18:32 By Nonkululeko Njilo
An eight-year-old girl died and and her older sister was injured after they made contact with an unsafe electrical wire in Grabouw, Western Cape, over the weekend.
An eight-year-old girl died and and her older sister was injured after they made contact with an unsafe electrical wire in Grabouw, Western Cape, over the weekend.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A playdate of young children in an open field in Grabouw, Western Cape, ended in tragedy over the weekend with the fatal electrocution of an eight-year-old girl and injury to her elder sibling after they made contact with an unsafe wire.

This is according to Eskom’s Trish Da Silva, who said the incident occurred while the children were playing between Snake Park and Hillside hostels. 

“The deceased girl’s sister, who tried to assist her, suffered minors burns to her hands. She received medical attention from paramedics on the scene and is recovering from home,” she said.

General manager at Eskom distribution in the province, Alwie Lester, said he was saddened by the incident.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of this child, whose future has been so tragically taken from her. It is a loss which could so easily have been averted. I also wish the injured sibling a speedy recovery,” he said.

Lester said the province had not recorded any deaths of minors as a result of coming into contact with illegal connections in the past year. 

“However, six adults have died from electrocution, who are suspected to have been involved either in electricity theft, or coming into direct contact with energised wires or objects as a result of illegal connections in the immediate area. It will never eliminate the risks of such connections,” he said.   

The Democratic Alliance in the province condemned the incident, saying electrical theft and vandalism had cost the province almost R200m over the past three years. 

Matlhodi Maseko, the Western Cape human settlements committee chairperson, said she would monitor investigations closely.  

"Illegal connections are poorly constructed and don't have the necessary electrical protection around wiring and cables for homes. They also reduce the stability of electricity to neighbourhoods and in the long-term contribute to power outages," she said. 

"Illegal connections are an extreme hazard to our communities - especially to young children, who unknowingly come into contact with electric cables and wires. These criminal acts lead to tragedies just like this, when our children should be safe in their neighbourhoods." 

Eskom said an investigation was under way and similar incidents could be prevented in the future. 

"The long-term solution to address illegal and unsafe connections would be to supply all areas with electricity. Eskom is only able to electrify an area once the relevant municipality has identified and proclaimed an area to receive services."  


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