Cape Town – The family of a three-year-old Khayelitsha boy who fell off a pedestrian bridge and fractured his skull say it could have been prevented had the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) maintained the bridge.
Alime Mosekamidi has been recovering at St Joseph’s Hospital for Chronically Ill Children following a long operation last year which had left a scar on the side of his head.
His mother, Pulani Mosekamidi, 43, said surgeons had also removed a piece of her little boy’s skull, leaving a soft spot on the child’s head. “When it’s hot, you can see and feel that spot throbbing. And when it’s cold, he would tell us that his head is sore,” Mosekamidi said on Tuesday.
She said Alime fell off the bridge – which is between the Chris Hani and Kuyasa train stations in Makhaza – during the early afternoon of Saturday, October 8, while he was on his way to friends.
A rail track divides the families’ shacks with the bridge, which was built in 2010, offering the only safe way to cross to the other side.
Mosekamidi alleged the Metrorail bridge Alime had fallen from had several rails missing at the time.
Kuthula Mamba, a community leader, said the bridge was the target of vandals whom he said stole the railings “on a regular basis”.
“That bridge is very dangerous, and not only for children,” Mamba said.
“In 2010 when it was being built, Prasa promised us there’ll be security guards put at both sides of the bridge but that has never happened,” Mamba said.
“We hired a car and took him to Khayelitsha hospital.”
Mosekamidi said Alime was then transferred to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where she said he was in intensive care for a week.
“He wasn’t speaking or eating and had a lot of machines around him, but my little boy is a fighter. I knew he’d make it,” she said.
Alime was then taken to Groote Schuur Hospital before his transfer to St Joseph’s.
“The whole ordeal has affected him mentally,” Mosekamidi said. “I’m very worried about my son’s future and I want Prasa to pay. It is because of them – if they fixed the railing he would not have fallen. He could’ve died,” she said.
Acting Metrorail communications manager Daphne Kayster said the matter had “regrettably” not been reported, but that “we have subsequently taken preventative measures to fix the gap in the bridge”.
“An internal investigation into the incident is currently under way. It is however too early to speculate on the outcome of the investigation or when the investigation will be finalised,” Kayster said.