By Theodorah Waga Mawasha.
GA-RAPITSI-Gogo Mmanakampe Maimela (86), from Ga-Rapitsi village, Greater Letaba, said that the fire that ravaged her home was caused by the rolling power blackouts.
This comes after a fire broke out in her house when lights came back on while she was sleeping with her family, on June 08 .
The family said that they were woken up by smoke and rushed to pour water on the fire in an attempt to contain the flames. Unfortunately, it was too little too late because some of the rooms were already engulfed in flames.
Maimela’s granddaughter and caregiver, Virginia Maimela (22), said that life after the incident has been tough particularly because her grandmother can’t bathe or do basic things on her own. Their expenses have inevitably tripled because they are unemployed and are fully dependent on their grandmother’s old age grant.
“My grandmother is the sole breadwinner meaning we can’t afford to replace what we lost. She is immobile and that means she requires undivided attention. We plead for some sort of relief from government. If we can at least get a house with electricity, life would be simpler “, She said.
Local government has built the family a temporary shack while they wait to be allocated an RDP house, but unfortunately power hasn’t been restored.
“We have been without power since the unfortunate incident occurred. We approached Eskom for help but we were told re-connection requires a R500 fee. They said that the main reason we couldn’t get assistance was because the account they registered is not in my grandmother’s name”, Maimela said.
Tzaneen Voice contacted ward 08 Councillor Masilo Maake for a comment.
“I am aware of the family’s situation and they are on our priority list for a house allocation. Unfortunately, Eskom has been dilly dallying to re-connect them because of paper work. We are doing the best we can to help the family “, he said.
Eskom did not respond to correspondence we sent to them pertaining to the electricity re-connection at the Maimela household.