By Criswell Chisango
Karoi, September 16, 2013 – An employee with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) died in Harare on Saturday after he succumbed to some injuries he sustained during maintenance work at Wingate farm near Karoi in Mashonaland West province.
The deceased, Western Chiyangwa aged 49 years, was part of a team of ZESA workers who were rehabilitating some electricity poles in the farming area of Tengwe, about 50 kilometers east of Karoi town on Tuesday when disaster stuck.
According to some sources, Chiyangwa was fixing the last pole before he was stuck by live wire after electricity was switched on.
It resulted in him sustaining severe burns all over his body.
An informed source told Radio VOP that; “There was communication breakdown between the foreman on the ground and Chiyangwa who was still yet to finish off his task as well as the engineer who switched on the electricity. It was disastrous as Chiyangwa was burnt after his clothes caught fire.’’
Another source added that they had to pull out the ladder, cut off the safety belt forcing him to drop off on the ground as three right hand fingers were burning.
He later sustained injuries on his right thigh that was ripped apart and the stomach. Chiyangwa broke his limb after he fell from the ladder as his colleagues battled to save his life.
The ZESA employee was rushed to Karoi hospital but was later transferred to Harare for medication.
ZESA spokesperson Fullard Gwasira confirmed the incident saying the state run power utility will soon investigate the matter.
“Yes I can confirm the incident. ZESA will institute an investigation to determine if all procedures were followed. We will probe to determine why the accident happened, how it happened so that we will take preventative measures to avert loss of life. It is unfortunate that we have lost a staff member this way,” said Gwasira.
A cold war is looming as juniors ZESA employees are blaming senior officers of “setting out” targets therefore compromising quality of work and their lives.
“Our seniors are working hard to meet their monthly targets against our mandate. No one can complain of not taking precautionary measures that they say it’s time consuming. Junior officers countrywide are suffering the same fate,” said one officer speaking on condition that he is not named.
There was no immediate comment from family members although a distant relative confirmed that the police’s reaction was suspicious.
The body was due to arrive in Karoi late on Sunday evening for burial.
ZESA has in recent years been blamed for the rising number of people who get electrocuted owing to the power utility’s negligence. Several Zimbabweans have engaged lawyers to seek compensation for the loss of their relatives and friends due to ZESA’s negligence.