Cape Town - A mother whose 6-year-old daughter was electrocuted after stepping on an exposed electric wire attached to a corrugated-iron shack in an informal settlement in Paarl on Friday has told of her heartache.
Mampukeleng Maroba said her daughter, Reitumetsi, and three older siblings were on holiday with their cousins at the Fairyland informal settlement in Paarl East when the accident happened.
“They left here on Tuesday. On Friday afternoon I got a call from one of her cousins who told me she died after shocking herself. She fell against the shack and collapsed. When I heard my child had died, I screamed ‘No, it can’t be! It didn’t feel real’,” said Maroba.
She travelled to Paarl and found her child’s body on a bed in her cousins’ shack, about 30m away from the shack where the incident occurred.
“I asked the police: ‘Can I please see my child?’
“When I saw her, it looked like she was sleeping. But white foam came out of her nose and ear. I just burst out crying.
“I feel terrible. I am very sad. She was such a lively child, always chatting, full of jokes and very playful. She was a sweet and loving child.
“As I’m sitting here now, it feels as if she’s still alive and will walk in here any minute,’’ Maroba said on Saturday, speaking from her home in Wesbank in Delft.
Interviewed in Paarl, one of Reitumetsi’s cousins Kgotsofalang Moroba, 22, said Reitumetsi went to a spaza shop to buy chips and the accident happened when she was on her way back to their shack.
He was called out to the scene, where he saw her lying next to the wall of the shack.
“She wasn’t breathing. When I touched her, I got shocked too, but I picked her up again and pulled her away from the wall.
“I carried her to our shack and laid her down on a bed.
“I felt helpless. I just cried.
“She was so young and friendly. She grew up in front of me, our families often visited each other,” he said, adding he was angry with the man who lived in the shack for leaving electricity wires attached to his shack “open and not covering them with tape”.
“I felt like attacking the man in the shack. To me, it feels as if he doesn’t care” he said.
“It’s difficult to believe what happened. I feel like I’m living in a nightmare.”
A neighbour, Laetitia du Plessis, said a girl and a boy were also recently shocked while another boy was shocked last year by by exposed electricity wires.