Electrocution spawns $42k lawsuit

Nyore Madzianike Senior Reporter
A MUTORASHANGA man whose 14-year-old son was electrocuted by live power cables, is now suing the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for $42 000.

The boy accidentally stepped on live cables that were hanging from a fallen pole while hunting for mice at Teketeke Farm mid last year. In papers filed at the Harare High Court recently, Mr Robert Malunga is claiming damages amounting to $20 000 for loss of his son, Panashe Malunga.

Mr Malunga, who is being represented by Mr Ephraim Ndlovu from Mabundu and Ndlovu Law Chambers, is also claiming an additional $20 000 for pain, shock and suffering inflicted by ZETDC’s ‘‘negligent actions’’ that led to the death of his son.

He wants another $2 000 for the expenses he incurred during the boy’s funeral.

“An inquest was conducted and the uncontested record states that the deceased was holding a hoe which came into contact with hanging and just near the ground live cables of electricity,” reads Mr Malunga’s application. “Due to the contact, he was electrocuted.”

Mr Malunga stated in the papers that the death of his son caused him pain and suffering.

ZETDC has denied being negligent.

The company also denied ever causing Panashe’s death, saying he was old enough to appreciate the risks associated with power cables. The electricity company also said Panashe failed to exercise caution by letting his hoe in contact with the power cables.

“Those allegations are disputed,” said ZETDC. “The deceased minor child was approximately 14 years old and therefore mature and sophisticated enough to appreciate the dangers of electricity.

“By allowing a hoe to come into contact with a live electricity cable, the deceased failed to exercise care and caution and thereby acted negligently. Negligence cannot be imputed to the defendant.”

ZETDC challenged Mr Malunga to prove that he incurred funeral expenses amounting to $2 000.

“The defendant has not claimed for loss of future support arising from the death of the minor child,” it said. “The claim of $20 000 in general damages has no legal basis. Further, Plaintiff can only claim special damages for pain shock and suffering resulting from the death of the deceased.”

Circumstances leading to Panashe’s death were that on July 22, 2017 at around 3pm, he left home in the company of his three friends to hunt mice at Teketeke Farm in Mutorashanga.

The 14-year-old was holding an iron hoe which came into contact with the hanging live electricity cable, whose pole had fallen.

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