According to Asenako Mbali’s uncle, Tandile Buxeka, the child was playing with friends near her home in 13th Street, Kayamandi, when the electricity “danger box” exploded.
“I am not sure if the children touched the danger box but it exploded and Mbali was burnt badly on the face and on her arm.
“Her head is now twice the size of mine,” said Buxeka.
The family was inside the home at the time of the explosion and according to Buxeka, the electricity box is about 15m from their house.
Asenako was rushed to Stellenbosch Hospital for treatment and later transferred to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
Asenako was due to start Grade 1 this year.
Buxeka said that after the explosion, it took the municipality three days to make contact with the family.
“They told us that they came to just show face. They came to fix the box on January 8, but they only visited us on January 10, after I wrote a letter to them complaining of their lack of interest in the incident,” said Buxeka.
He also accused the deputy mayor and electricity manager of the Stellenbosch Municipality of “being more concerned about the box instead of the life of a child who is now lying in ICU, fighting for her life”.
Buxeka further claimed that the exposed box had been reported to the municipality on numerous occasions by several residents in 13th Street but nothing was done to seal it off.
Red Cross spokesperson Dwayne Evans confirmed that Asenako was being treated at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
“The patient is comfortable and in a stable condition. The patient has been transferred to the burns ward and is under observation in the high care section,” said Evans.
Stellenbosch municipal manager, Geraldine Mettler said they are “deeply alarmed and saddened by the incident”.
“Our thoughts are with the girl and her family during this difficult time.
“The municipality has already visited and spoken with her parents and has visited the girl in hospital,” said Mettler.
Mettler added that the mini-substation was severely vandalised which allowed the children access to the premises and they have launched a full investigation into the matter.
“As a municipality we are dependent on the community being our eyes and ears and to report any suspicious or criminal activity to the municipality and the police immediately,” she concluded.