ZESA negligence: Three Mangwe learners electrocuted

Three learners from Kweneng Primary School in Mangwe, Matabeleland South, were electrocuted Tuesday by collapsed electricity cables in an incident that villagers blame on the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)’s negligence.

The cables are said to have been down since 2020 following the collapse of supporting poles and villagers say numerous reports made to ZESA about the matter have not yielded any fruit to date.

This is not the first time people in the area around Ingwizi have been electrocuted by the same cables as two more incidents have been recorded earlier.

The three learners (aged 8, 9, and 10) whose sexes could not be immediately established, are receiving treatment at the United Bulawayo Hospitals.

Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Loveness Mangena confirmed the incident adding investigations were underway.

“The incident occurred on 17 May 2022 between 1300 to 1400 hours,” said Mangena.

“They (children) were coming from Kweneng Primary School on their way home. So along the way, they were electrocuted by two ZESA overhead cables that connect Ingwizi centre and Kweneng Primary School, which had fallen down. The case was reported to ZRP Mphoengs and the victims were ferried to Brunapeg Hospital where they were later transferred to UBH and their condition is said to be serious.”

Ingwizi villagers who spoke to CITE had no kind words for the power utility

“These cables have been lying down for more than two years now,” said one villager.

He said they had spoken to the ZESA person on the ground and even reached out to their provincial and regional offices in Gwanda and Bulawayo respectively to no avail.

“They have not been willing to help us,” he decried.

“In fact, this line from Gwanda to Ingwizi is a problem and these ZESA people do not want to help us.  These people are very negligent. Even here in Bulu, we have a line from Patse turn-off to Mphoengs, poles are also down.

He added: “We are sick and tired of these ZESA people. We have an electricity connection but it is as good as a useless white elephant. Once power lines fall, they come and dismantle to terminate the line and stay for a very long time without fixing the fault.”

ZESA public relations officer, Prisca Utete requested that questions be sent to her via WhatsApp, which was done, only for her to say, “Noted.”

However, when a follow-up was made she did not respond.

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