DEATHS OF YOUNG CHILDREN ON THE RISE IN GREENWOOD PARK INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS
Written by: Thembela Makhuba
Children in the informal settlements of Greenwood Park are endangered due to the rise of cable theft.
Parents of these children say that they are tired of empty promises from the government – due to lack of service delivery at the expense of their children’s lives.
Sbongile Madala, a resident of the settlements and parent of a child who had been injured before said, “It gets even worse when it rains. My child was injured a few weeks ago and burnt her arm. Since then many others have been hurt.”
A young child explains the conditions they are exposed to whilst playing.
“I was playing with my friends when I slipped and fell. My hand landed on an open wire and ing’shokhile (it electrocuted me). I couldn’t move and my friends called my uncle who came and hit me with a wooden plank. My arm is still sore and I cannot move my fingers properly,” said the minor.
Major Thulane Zwane of the South African Police Service (SAPS) said that a number of suspects have been arrested for the theft and possession of copper cables.
“We are aware of the dangers caused by criminals who are stealing and that children are being electrocuted by live wires that are hanging in the streets. Meetings are being conducted with other role players such as the municipality, Eskom, and the police to help find a solution,” said Zwane.
Residents say that as soon as a child begins to crawl and walk around, they are at risk of being electrocuted as they are too young to understand the dangers of live wires.
eThekwini Municipality Spokesperson, Thulani Mbatha, said that Greenwood Park is one of the areas that is plagued by the problems of illegal connections.
“Law enforcement and electricity officials have visited the area a number of times to disconnect the illegal connections. Despite these efforts, the problem keeps resurfacing” he said.
In the meantime, police and municipal officials urge the community to report individuals seen committing such a crime.
*Picture: Greenwood Park informal settlements