BCC, Zesa clash over electrocution of soccer player

BULAWAYO City Council and Zesa Holdings officials yesterday accused each other of causing the electrocution of a social soccer player at a tower light in Pelandaba, in December.

BY SILAS NKALA

The officials traded accusations when council engineer, Mente Ndlovu (58) appeared before Bulawayo senior magistrate Gladmore Mushove charged with culpable homicide.

This was after a social soccer player, Shepherd Mgcini Mpala was electrocuted when he got touched a live power cable at a tower light close to Induba football pitch on December 5, 2015.

Prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa called two Zesa engineers, Farai Chianika and Tariro Chikomo, who both blamed the council for failing to inspect the tower light structure since it was under the administration of the local authority.

Bulawayo-City-Council

But, Ndlovu’s lawyer Norman Mangena insisted that the power utility should be held responsible, since it controlled the distribution of electricity.

Chianika said after the accident, ZETDC sent a probe committee to investigate the matter. The committee, he claimed, established that Mpala might have been electrocuted after getting into contact with the cable armour and the tower light structure.

“Investigations discovered that there was a potential 150 volts at the cable armour indicating that a current of between 100 and 300 amps could have shocked him to death by passing through his heart,” he said.

“Council was then advised of the findings. The accident happened at the customer’s property and ZETDC is just responsible for maintaining the meter, while BCC is responsible for maintaining the tower light structure.”

Chianika said the earth wire, which is supposed to tripdown power in case of emergency, was vandalised, adding that it appeared council was not regularly inspecting the structure.

But, Mangena hit back saying ZETDC should also be charged together with the local authority, as they were both interested parties.

Mushove remanded the matter to February 17 for continuation of trial.

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