A Mashava man in Masvingo is demanding compensation to the tune of $50 000 from power utility, Zesa after he got an electric shock from a lying live conductor while herding cattle resulting in his right arm being amputated.
Narrating his ordeal to Sunday News on Friday Mr Jealous Gumbochuma (25) of Village 4 who now battles 47 percent disability said the tragedy struck in February 2009 when he was rushing to control his cattle from straying into the main road.
“I was herding cattle when I came into contact with a live Zesa conductor which was lying down in long grass near a main road, along Mashava-Mbalabala road. I was rushing to control my cattle from straying into the main road. My right hand was electrocuted and I became unconscious and I had to be told the rest when I regained consciousness at the hospital,” said Mr Gumbochuma.
He said he was admitted for six months at United Bulawayo Hospitals in Bulawayo where he was then amputated and his family paid all medical expenses which shot to more than $3 000.
“When I was discharged from hospital it took me three years to recover from the injuries and in 2015 I approached Zesa’s Mashava office with my issue but they all ignored me. In actual fact I was accused of attempting to steal their conductors but police made investigations and cleared me of any wrong doing,” said Mr Gumbochuma.
He said he was now seeking compensation from the company for leaving the live conductors dangerously.
“I am seeking compensation from Zesa to the tune of $50 000 for they have caused my disability. I was able bodied with all limbs but now my right hand had to be amputated due to the electrocution.”
Acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Kudakwashe confirmed receiving a report and investigations revealed that Gumbochuma’s case was genuine as there was no theft as alleged by Zesa.
“We received a report both from Zesa and Gumbochuma’s family. Zesa alleged that the man was electrocuted as he attempted to steal conductors but investigations revealed that he was accidentally electrocuted while herding cattle and we gave a report to that effect,” said Asst Insp Dehwa.
Efforts to get a comment from Zesa spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira proved fruitless as his phone was not reachable at the time of going to press.
However, a senior official at the company’s eastern regional office in Mutare who asked not to be named said Gumbochuma’s matter was complicated because a report from Mashava’s loss control officers suggested that he was burnt while attempting to steal Zesa conductors.
“The company’s security personnel who went to the scene for investigations reported that Gumbochuma could have attempted to steal our wires hence being electrocuted. If it is true then, it will be difficult for the company to respond favourably to his plight even though we are all touched by his situation. Police have however, dismissed the loss control’s allegations but the time lapse could be his undoing,” he said.