GEORGE, South Africa – A 3 year old girl has been electrocuted by an illegal connection in Dube Village, Thembalethu, according to a statement by the George Municipality.
Following the electrocution, the municipality was forced to cut electricity to the area to inspect for other illegal connections, the municipality said on Friday.
The child, a 3-year-old girl, was killed when she touched a live wire running form a homemade “electricity distribution box” which “was put together in an illegal, primitive and unsafe way”, said George Municipality Acting Director Electrotechnical Services, Paul Gerber.
The incident has been investigated by the George Municipality, in line with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act).
As a result of the incident, a large part of the greater electricity network that supplies the area had to be switched off and inspected for other illegal connections.
“According to the OHS Act, the municipality has a responsibility to maintain a safe electrical network and may therefore not reinstate power unless all illegal connections on the line have been cleared. This is obviously especially frustrating to paying households on these lines and we have extended our apologies to them and have explained the situation. When necessary, the municipality appoints contractors to remove illegal connections and power is restored once all lines have been inspected and confirmed clear of any illegal connections.”
A report has been submitted to the Department of Labour and police have opened an inquest docket.
Three other electrocutions have taken place in the area over the past year, with two other children being electrocuted due to illegal connections.
Gerber has appealed to all communities to refrain from making illegal connections.
“We recognise that people want electricity, but there are good reasons why procedures of supply must be followed. Stealing electricity is very dangerous for everyone – not just for the ones making connections, but for every person and animal within the illegal connection zone. Children are especially vulnerable as they are curious and likely to explore and dig out electricity lines or try to open up rigged boxes and interesting-looking wires.”