Kimberley - A 59-year-old Kimberley man died of a heart attack following a “frantic”, five-day-long attempt to have his electricity reconnected by the Sol Plaatje Municipality.
William Banda, from Crutse Square, Galeshewe, died on Friday morning, five days after the municipality cut the electricity supply to his home.
Banda’s family and friends blamed the municipality, and specifically executive mayor Patrick Mabilo, for “sending him to his grave”.
They said that he could not cook food or “even make a cup of tea” after his electricity supply was cut on Monday last week. Unable to eat and “extremely stressed”, they said that the sickly Banda could not take his chronic heart and blood pressure medicine.
Banda, who is unemployed, had his electricity supply cut as he owes the municipality more than R9 000.
According to the owner of the house where Banda collapsed and died on Friday morning, Shorkie Molusi, Banda had been “frantically attempting” to have his electricity supply restored since Monday.
“William came to me on Tuesday, asking for advice on how to proceed with the matter. He was extremely stressed. I told him to go to the Sol Plaatje Municipality to try and sort something out. He is sickly and has to take medication for his heart and blood pressure but said that he could not take his medicine as he could not cook food without electricity,” Molusi said.
“On Wednesday he came back with papers from the municipality and asked to borrow R500 from me. I gave him the money and on Thursday he came back with an invoice, confirming that he had paid R300 on his account.
“On Friday morning, his power had still not been reconnected and he returned to the municipality to find out why, as he was told him on Thursday that the power would be reconnected. However, when he returned he said that he had been sent from pillar to post, with no definitive answer given by the municipality.
“He collapsed in my yard soon after and was later declared dead by paramedics. The cause of death was indicated as cardiac arrest.”
Banda’s son, Lebogang Alloycius Louw, was with him when he collapsed.
“My father suddenly became light-headed and collapsed on the floor before I could catch him,” Louw said, adding that his father had been “extremely stressed” and “frantic” after the electricity to his home was cut.
While his body was still lying in the yard, community members gathered outside and also expressed outrage regarding the electricity cuts in the area.
“We don’t eat because we can’t cook food without electricity. Even something simple like a pot of porridge or cup of tea is impossible to make, as we have to get up early to search for wood before making a fire. The elderly and sick who have to take medication and young children are the worst affected by these electricity cuts. Banda’s death is the perfect example of how the municipality is sending people to their graves,” Banda’s daughter, Patricia Moetsi, said.
“(Executive mayor) Patrick Mabilo must come here and see how he and his municipality are killing people.”