Thursday, July 04, 2019

Death by coal


So thrilled were they to move into their new house, that they took ownership of it even though the electricity wasn’t connected. But their joy was short-lived when their 4-year-old boy died of carbon monoxide poisoning when the family brought coals from a fire into the house to keep warm.
Little four year old Kahino Chivasa, passed away just two days after the family moved into their new BNG (formerly known as RDP) house in Delft, and the family is blaming the City of Cape Town’s human settlements, for handing out incomplete houses, for his untimely death.

Chivasa’s grandmother said she had started the fire outside for cooking late on Friday night and brought the coals inside the house. “If there was electricity this would not have happened, we would not have made the fire and brought the coal inside.” She adds that this is because the house is unbearably cold, and even more so because the floor is uncovered.

The family, which has been on the housing waiting list for the past 22years moved into their house barely a day after the house was finished. According to Chivasa’s granny, the house has no ventilation or electricity and the walls were still raw with the construction dust still not settled when they moved in and because they had waited over two decades for their new home they could not wait a second longer.

Warren Jones, a community leader and also a community liaison officer for Eskom in the area, said the city should take full responsibility and account for the death of little Chivasa. Jones said the family received no visit or emotional support from the city or the ward councillor, instead empty promises.

By: Aneeqa du Plessis

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