Double tragedy as siblings are killed by illegal electricity

Michael Sakuneka

Michael Sakuneka

Residents of Section B in Limpopo's NkowaNkowa township, near the Babamecisi informal settlement outside Tzaneen, are outraged at the increasing number of illegal electricity connections.

The anger follows the death of two young brothers after they were electrocuted by exposed electric wires on the same day last week.

The two brothers, Petrus Phiri, 8, and Shadrack Phiri, 12, died tragically on two separate incidents about 100m away from each other last Thursday.

The siblings were electrocuted when they stepped on live electric wires illegally connected from the township's main supply boxes to the squatter camp.

Police said Shadrack was electrocuted and died about 100m away from where his younger brother died.

This was after he put his leg in a pool of water on the footpath leading to the squatter camp.

Shadrack was unaware of the live electric cable that was passing under the water. He was allegedly running home to inform his parents about the death of Petrus at the time.

Residents expressed anger at the squatters and have called on Eskom to take action because the illegal connectors were "disrupting the supply of electricity to loyal consumers".

They said almost every household in the informal settlement had electricity illegally connected to their shacks.

The spokesman for the community, Daniel Zitha, told Sowetan yesterday that they feared for their lives because the squatters threatened to attack them if they reported them to Eskom or the police for the illegal connections.

Ritavi police spokesman Inspector Seth Magadzi confirmed that two inquest dockets were being investigated after the boys' deaths.

An official at Eskom's offices in Tzaneen said the matter had been reported and that investigations were already under way.