The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings says the three learners from Kweneng Primary School in Mangwe, Matabeleland South, tempered with live cables resulting in them sustaining serious burns.
The three learners (aged 8, 9, and 10) whose sexes could not be immediately established, were electrocuted by live ZESA by cables while on their way home from school and are currently receiving treatment at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Loveness Mangena, confirmed the incident last week adding investigations were underway.
Villagers in Ingwizi growth point blamed the incident on the power utility’s negligence saying the cables had been down since 2020, something which ZESA has denied.
“We learnt with a heavy heart this sad development involving Kweneng Primary School, Matabeleland South,” said ZESA in a statement to CITE.
“We are very concerned about the incident and we will be in touch with the affected families. However here is some truth about the accident that resulted in three children getting hurt by our powerline. It is not true that this section of the line has been down since 2020. The issue can only be described as speculation and not representing the true facts on the ground.
The power utility explained further: “In fact, this section has been in service all along coming out only when there are faults on the trunk Brunapeg 33kv feeder. On the 16th of May 2022, the section of line concerned was energized and the binding on the insulator came off, bringing the live blue phase conductor to about 2 metres above the ground. It should be also noted that there was no pole that was down.”
The parastatal said the children tampered with the cables, resulting in their electrocution.
“On the following day, 17 May 2022, the three children were walking home under the 33kv line,” further reads the ZESA statement.
“At the site of the accident, the conductor was about 2m above ground. It is at this point that the children used a metallic object to reach out to the low hanging conductor, resulting in them receiving burns.
The power utility added: “We encourage our kids and the general public to always observe electricity safety as this may result in electrical accidents.”