baby born in A bakkie

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Load-shedding nearly claimed the life of its first victim in Limpopo when a young woman gave birth on the back of a bakkie on Monday because there was no electricity at at three clinics she went to.

The department of health has put the blame to Eskom, saying it had pleaded to no avail with the energy supplier not to cut electricity at health centres.

The woman, Lufuno Mulamu, 20, had gone to the village clinic Madombidzha to have her baby.

But the nurses refused her entry, saying they could not help her because there was no electricity.

Mulamu went to a clinic in the next village but it also did not have power.

The security guards allegedly refused her entry, claiming it was an order from above.

"My neighbour carried me to a nearby liquor store where we begged for a lift to the Tshiwabosiku health centre - but that was also in the dark," Mulamu said yesterday.

She said she was forced to go to a hospital in Louis Trichardt.

"But my water broke on the way and I gave birth on the back of the bakkie."

Though the baby was born under undesirable conditions, the department of health declared the baby girl healthy.

Mulamu named the baby Precious "because of her light complexion".

"The department made it clear to Eskom that their load shedding will become life shedding in our hospitals if they keep on cutting electricity to our health institutions," said health department spokesman Phuti Seloba.

"We pleaded with them from the start of load shedding but they turned a deaf ear," he said.

"We use electricity for a whole lot of things. If we do not have electricity for a few hours, we experience a lot of damage, including loss of life," said Seloba.

He said the nurses at the institutions could not be blamed because they could not keep the woman in their care when they could not help her.

Eskom was not available for comment.