Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Thoko Riet said that the municipality regrets the inconvenience caused by the outage




African News Agency



TWO ELDERLY people, dependent on ventilators, died due to an apparent lack of oxygen after the Naborn area in Roodepan was without electricity for a week. Berenice van Wyk, the daughter of Andrew Bezuidenhout, 76, said her family will seek legal advice after her father died due to a lack of oxygen at his home in Cassia Street, Roodepan, on the weekend. Another elderly woman, who was also on a ventilator, died due to a lack of oxygen during the same period, in the same area. Family members have accused the Sol Plaatje Municipality of “lack of humanity and arrogance in offering proper condolences or support following the death” of Bezuidenhout. The Naborn area in Roodepan has been without electricity since July 27 after an electrical fault. The power was only restored to certain parts of Roodepan on Monday after electricians worked around the clock to determine the exact cause of the outage. Roodepan residents told the DFA how they had to clean out their fridges of groceries to dispose of smelly foodstuffs. Van Wyk said family members are still mourning her father’s death and will decide whether or not to take legal action. She explained how they helplessly watched her father go through a painful death. Her father, who has been asthmatic all his life, was permanently on a ventilator since his discharge from hospital in July. According to her, the electricity went off at around 10am on Wednesday last week, and they expected that it would be restored during the course of the day . . . or that they would get regular updates. “Hours turned into days, and there were no updates from the municipality. We contacted the municipality but could not get any information from the call centre. “We called our ward councillor to ask for help because my father refused to go back to hospital,” Van Wyk said. She added that they had to carry her already weak father to another house in order to plug in the ventilator for at least half an hour on Friday last week. She said they tried to convince her father to go back to hospital, but he refused. “He kept on saying ‘I need oxygen’. A neighbour allowed us to use his generator on Sunday but it did not seem to make a difference. He passed away on Monday at around 4am.” Bezuidenhout said they are saddened by the fact that the municipality has never approached the family to express condolences or offer any kind of support. Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Thoko Riet said that the municipality regrets the inconvenience caused by the outage. The municipality blamed the outage on a fibre company that it said had damaged a cable in Aloe Street. Riet added that a cat was also found to have short-circuited the red phase on the power transformer at the Midlands substation. “This caused a huge power surge which damaged seven cable joints,” Riet said. “Surges or faults usually choose the quickest path. As a result, faults started to appear all over, affecting the 3 SAI (military base) as well. This fault ran right through, until it came out at the HA Morris substation.”