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A nine-year-old boy has been electrocuted while fishing in eMagwaveni, a township in oThongathi (Tongaat).
Police said Banele Nyaba was fishing with a friend when he accidentally touched an overhead live electricity wire running across the stream.
Banele fell into the water.
Illegally connected electricity wires were strung across the stream and led to an informal settlement, police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Mandy Govender said.
Govender said that people in the informal settlement stole electricity from the nearby railway station and a power station.
Police had accompanied municipal workers on a drive to disconnect illegal power lines in other areas in the same township, she said.
They had disconnected about five of these.
“We were to come to this area (near the stream) next,” she said.
Govender said police had found a home-made fishing rod and a dead fish at the scene.
Banele’s friend had been taken to the police station for counselling.
Banele’s sister, Hawukile Nyaba, said the boy’s death was a great shock to her family.
The young boy was in Grade 2 at the Tongaat Lower Primary School.
He has been described as “a good child who loved his school work and enjoyed outdoor activities”.
“The last time I was with him, he said he was going to meet his friends. He never said anything about fishing,” his sister said.
Nyaba said their house had no electricity and they had not used illegal connections.
“We use candles,” she said.
Govender said at least five people and a number of cattle had been electrocuted recently.
When The Mercury arrived at the scene, eThekwini municipality officials were taking down illegally connected wires along a path near the stream.
A DA councillor, Geoff Pullan, said that it was highly likely that the wires would be reconnected again in the morning.
He said the municipality had recently carried out disconnections in that area.
“The sad thing is that, a minute after all the officials leave, people reconnect the wires.”
Pullan said the municipality had set up educational programmes to educate communities about the dangers of illegal connections. - The Mercury