The parents of Kahino Chivasa, Knowledge and Mariam, with his grandmother Rita Mentoor.     Photo: Mthuthuzeli Ntseku/Cape Argus.
The parents of Kahino Chivasa, Knowledge and Mariam, with his grandmother Rita Mentoor. Photo: Mthuthuzeli Ntseku/Cape Argus.

Family blame City of Cape Town for boy’s ‘coal’ death

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jul 4, 2019

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Cape Town - So excited were they to move into their new house, that they took possession of it even though the electricity wasn’t connected.

But their joy was short-lived when their 4-year-old boy died of carbon monoxide poisoning when the family brought coals from a fire into the house to keep warm.

Kahino Chivasa passed away just two days after the family moved into their new BNG house in Delft, and the family is blaming the City of Cape Town’s human settlements, for handing out incomplete houses, for his untimely death.

Rita Mentoor, Chivasa’s grandmother who was sleeping with four of her grandchildren, said she had started the fire outside for cooking late on Friday night and brought the coals inside the house.

“If there was electricity this would not have happened, we would not have made the fire and brought the coal inside.

“The house is extremely cold, especially in the evening, the cold is not only coming from outside, but below the uncovered floor,” she said.

The family, which has been on the housing waiting list for the past 22years moved into their house barely a day after the house was finished.

According to Mentoor, the house has no ventilation or electricity and the walls were still raw with the construction dust still not settled when they moved in.

In a community meeting, Mentoor said the residents were however told of the unelectrified houses prior to receiving them,“but because everyone was excited about the prospect of receiving a house, especially after such a long wait, we overlooked everything,” she said.

Warren Jones, a community leader and also a community liaison officer for Eskom in the area, said the city should take full responsibility and account for the death of little Chivasa.

Jones said the family received no visit or emotional support from the city or the ward councillor, instead empty promises.

Mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi said due to the risk of vandalism and invasion of completed BNG houses, the city affords beneficiaries the choice to move into their homes before the electricity connections were installed.

“The beneficiaries of this particular BNG house have signed the letter of acceptance, indicating that they were aware that the electricity connections were yet to be installed by Eskom as this is an Eskom supply area,” Booi said.

Booi said the beneficiaries were advised to take all the necessary precautions when using alternative methods for cooking and keeping warm.


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Cape Argus

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