The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings has denied culpability for the electrocution of three learners from Kweneng Primary School in Mangwe, Matabeleland South last week.
The three learners (aged 8, 9, and 10) sustained serious injuries after coming in contact with live ZESA cables while on their home from school.
The children are currently receiving treatment at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).
Villagers in Ingwizi Growth Point blamed the incident on ZESA’s alleged negligence.
However, in a statement to CITE, ZESA denied villagers’ claims that the cables had been down since 2020.
ZESA also said the leaners had tampered with live cables. The power utility said:
We learnt with a heavy heart this sad development involving Kweneng Primary School, Matabeleland South.
We are very concerned about the incident and we will be in touch with the affected families.
However, here is some truth about the accident that resulted in three children getting hurt by our powerline.
It is not true that this section of the line has been down since 2020. The issue can only be described as speculation and not representing the true facts on the ground.
In fact, this section has been in service all along coming out only when there are faults on the trunk Brunapeg 33kv feeder.
On the 16th of May 2022, the section of the line concerned was energized and the binding on the insulator came off, bringing the live blue phase conductor to about 2 metres above the ground.
It should be also noted that there was no pole that was down.
On the following day, 17 May 2022, the three children were walking home under the 33kv line.
At the site of the accident, the conductor was about 2m above ground. It is at this point that the children used a metallic object to reach out to the low hanging conductor, resulting in them receiving burns.
ZESA exhorted children and members of the public to always observe electricity safety to avoid electrical accidents.