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Mast light survivor speaks in her sleep

Thembeka Mgciwa is carried into the memorial service of her four friends who were killed by an Apollo light. /SANDILE NDLOVU
Thembeka Mgciwa is carried into the memorial service of her four friends who were killed by an Apollo light. /SANDILE NDLOVU

A little girl is so traumatised at witnessing her friends' deaths that she can barely sleep at night.

According to Sonia Mobolawa, her granddaughter Thembeka Mgciwa, 9, is experiencing flashbacks of the high-mast light that fell in Soshanguve Block X on Saturday and killed five children.

"Since the incident she has spent a lot of time without talking to anyone.

"When I ask her if everything was fine, she said yes," said Mobolawa, who was speaking on the sidelines of a memorial service at Soshanguve Block X community hall for the children.

"But as an elder, I can see her behaviour has changed. At night she speaks in her dreams. We hope the trauma counselling will help."

Mobolawa said the municipality should provide counseling.

She said Mgciwa spent a night in hospital and was discharged the following day, but was still limping from injuries.

"Thembeka told me that she was playing with her friends when the lights fell.

"After hearing about the incident, I sent my brother to go and see what happened. When he arrived at the scene he saw children lying dead and Thembeka only sustained injuries to her leg."

Siblings Boitshoko, 11, Dimpho Bopape, 6; Lethabo Matibaku, 9; Maikano Khoza, 9; and Kearabile Baloyi, 11, died.

The hall was packed with mourners who came to bid farewell to the five children.

Elizabeth Mmeno, who spoke on behalf of the Khoza family, said had the municipality listened to the community's complaint about the condition of the light, none of this would have happened.

However, politics came into play after the ANC decorated the hall with party regalia.

Tshwane acting mayor Michael Mkhari said what the ANC did was unacceptable.

"This is not an ANC event, it is the City of Tshwane and we have taken full responsibility of the funeral costs," he said.

Tshwane ANC deputy chairman Mapiti Matsena said they decorated the hall because the city didn't bring anything to decorate the hall.

MEC for human settlements Paul Mashathile urged the grieving families to gain strength during this difficult time.

"We would want a report from the Tshwane municipality and we don't want one based on speculation.

"These innocent souls, their lives were cut short. Those in charge in the municipality should make sure that this one incident doesn't happen again."

MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane visited the grieving families on Wednesday.

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