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Eskom warns political parties about electricity poles danger

Written by on May 8, 2024

Power utility Eskom has warned political parties to exercise extreme caution when placing posters on electrical infrastructure after an EFF volunteer was electrocuted to death in Mpumalanga.

The EFF volunteer, Lekometse Monama, who is from eMalahleni, was electrocuted to death when he tried to place a party poster on a street pole in his community.

EFF leader Julius Malema expressed sorrow and described Monama as a dedicated member of the party.

Monama was laid to rest in Ga-Rakgwedi, Nebo Village in Limpopo, at the weekend.

“We’ve lost a brave and dedicated member of our movement, and my heart goes out to his loved ones,” Malema said.

“Please, accept my sincere condolences, and I’d like to express my gratitude to him for his service and sacrifice. Your family will always be my family and will always be there for them.”

Eskom is now cautioning political parties about the hazards associated with placing posters on its infrastructure. The power utility also warned them about placing election posters on its electric structures, citing that it is illegal and dangerous.

“Eskom would like to caution all political parties against the dangerous practice of placing campaign posters on electrical structures. This includes electricity poles, electricity towers, meter boxes and mini substations,” reads the statement.

Eskom said placing election campaign posters on its electric structures can cause serious injuries and fatalities.

“Electricity is invisible to the naked eye and the risk is that when someone gets close to or touches them it may result in an inadvertent flash-over or electrical contact.”

The power utility further said that only authorised personnel are permitted to climb or work on these electrical structures.

“Section 19 (5) of the Electrical Machinery Regulations states: & quote; No person shall encroach in person or with objects on the minimum safety clearances required in terms of sub-regulation (1) or require or permit any other person to do so except by permission of the supplier or user operating the powerline.”

Eskom added that attaching posters to an electrical structure contravenes with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (No.85 of 1993), and also puts the lives of employees, members of the public and volunteers at risk.

“Eskom cares about your safety and we request you to refrain from attaching posters to electrical structures to prevent injury or loss of lives,” it warned.

In a response to IOL News, the power utility said the issue required a multi-stakeholder approach, including authorities and various political parties.

“It requires participation by all relevant stakeholders, such as Eskom, local municipalities, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), political parties, communities, and authorities, to ensure that members of the public and political party volunteers are aware of the risks and educated on the correct ways to put up election posters.”

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