Eskom sued for R1.4m after crane lifting electricity box hits wall which falls on boy
Pretoria - Eskom is facing a R1.4 million damages claim from the parents of a child who was severely injured when a crane trying to lift an electricity box hit a wall, which in turn toppled on to the child.
Theo Ndou, 5, was playing in the yard of his granny’s Soweto home, where he and his mother and three siblings live.
His mother, Mercy Ndou, 31, is claiming the damages following the December 18 incident in which her son suffered injuries.
Her lawyer, Jean-Paul Rudd of Adams&Adams, wrote a letter of demand to Eskom stating the mother was holding the state electricity supplier liable for her son’s injuries.
According to the letter, personnel employed by Eskom had gone to repair an electrical box which had not been working for months.
The box is situated outside the home of Ndou’s mother. It is said that during the repairs, while the crane was trying to lift the box, it hit a wall surrounding the house. The wall, in turn, fell on the minor child who was playing inside the yard at the time.
As a consequence of this incident, Theo suffered serious injuries.
It was stated in the letter of demand that Eskom had a legal duty to repair the electrical box. In doing so, it had a duty to ensure this was done in a manner that is safe for everyone nearby, and in a manner that does not pose a threat to anyone’s property or wellbeing.
Rudd stated in the letter that Eskom was required to take steps to minimise or eliminate the risk of harm posed by any potential hazard.
“Your failure to act as aforementioned was unlawful and negligent and caused our client damages,” he said.
Rudd is, among others, claiming an estimated R150 000 for medical expenses the mother had to incur, R400 000 as an estimate for future medical expenses, as well as a further R600 000 in general damages. A further R50 000 towards the costs to repair the wall was also mentioned.
Ndou told the Pretoria News that she was at work at the time, but her mother phoned her to tell her about the accident. “I could hear my little son crying over the phone. It was just terrible,” she said.
They have a big electrical power box outside their home, which had not been working for months, she said. Eskom promised to fix it and to reinstate electricity to all the affected houses.
They eventually arrived on December 18 and lifted the box with a crane, which hit the wall. At the time Theo was on his scooter in the front garden.
The child suffered injuries across his body, including a cracked skull.
Ndou rushed home and got there just as her son was being loaded into an ambulance.
“By this time his crying had subsided a bit, but he was terrified. So was I.”
He was rushed to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where he had to remain overnight.
Ndou said she and her mother tried relentlessly to find someone at Eskom who could assist them, but to no avail. Nobody responded to the telephone numbers she was given and the Eskom office closest to their house was closed due to Covid-19.
“To this day Eskom did not inquire about my child or asked how he was doing.”
She said while Theo is doing better, he is still terrified when he sees trucks or hears loud noises.
Eskom said it was aware of the matter and attending to it via the legal route.
Rudd meanwhile said a senior advocate has been briefed to draw up the claim, and the child will be sent for medical-legal examinations to determine the exact extent of his injuries. A quantity surveyor’s opinion will also be sourced to quantify the damage to the wall.