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V&A probe after festive lights shock

Jan Cronje

The V&A WATERFRONT has launched an external investigation into allegations that a young boy was shocked by a Christmas light display on New Year’s Day.

RUINED HOLIDAY: Zachery-Levi Herskovitz, 7, was treated at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital on New Year's Day after allegedly getting shocked by a Christmas light display.

The probe was called after a parent, Eytan Herskovitz of Tamboerskloof, said his seven-year-old son, Zachery-Levi, was taken to hospital after touching a Christmas light display in the Breakwater parking garage.

Herskovitz said there were exposed wires in the display.

“A matter of this nature is handled with urgency and thoroughly investigated to substantiate any claims,” said V&A spokeswoman Carla White in an e-mail.

She said an external engineer had been appointed to conduct the investigation.

Herskovitz said his family had gone to the Waterfront for a late lunch on New Year’s Day and were returning to their car when the alleged incident happened.

“Along the entire staircase (between garage parking levels) there were Christmas lights, completely accessible to anyone,” said Herskovitz.

“They were right in front of you draped all over the show. Even a baby could touch them.” Herskovitz said while walking down the staircase, he turned and saw his son holding on to the Christmas lights. He said his son was unable to let go: “He was obviously being shocked.”

He added that, on managing to free himself, his son started screaming in pain and the back of his arms and hands had turned bright red.

The family went to the Christiaan Barnard Hospital, where Zachery-Levi was treated.

Herskovitz said he sent an electrician to the Waterfront on January 3 to check for exposed wires, and that the electrician found evidence of this. “They hadn’t even checked it (the display),” he said.

But White said initial findings did not support Herskovitz’s claims.

While the final report will only be released later this week, she said the Herskovitz family had to date sent no supporting medical evidence.

“It would appear the severity has been grossly exaggerated,” said White. She noted that the preliminary report found no evidence of exposed wires, and no one else had reported being shocked over the holiday season.

Herskovitz said the trauma of what happened had affected his family psychologically and ruined their subsequent holiday along the east coast.

He said his son “was in a complete panic when he saw Christmas lights again”.

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