Namibia
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Man seeks justice after being shocked unconscious

A young man from Epyeshona village near Oshakati was recently talking to his neighbour when he touched a live guy-wire and was shocked unconscious.

Fillipus Veiko (21) blames Elektro Hinsch Contracting Pty Ltd, a company reportedly contracted by the northern regional electricity distributor (Nored) to electrify five traditional homesteads at the village.

Veiko says Elektro Hinsch Contracting had left a live electric line, while Nored had not inspected the job.

He believes this is a violation of accepted industry standards, endangering the community and animals.

Veiko says he could have been dead if the neighbours did not witness the incident, which took place on 19 May.

“Someone from the neighbouring house assisted to remove me from a guy-wire.

“By that time foam was coming from my mouth and nose,” he says.

Veiko says the neighbour removed him with a stick before he was rushed to Oshakati Intermediate Hospital.

Veiko, who is a builder, says following the electric shock, he experiences constant wheezing, chest pain and regular nosebleeds.

He claims as a result he is unable to perform his duties and is now depending on his 75-year-old grandmother’s monthly social grant.

Veiko says the company should continue paying for his medical expenses or should compensate him.

He says he was hospitalised for three days at Ongwediva MediPark.

Veiko’s cousin, Joseph Petrus, says Elektro Hinsch should take full responsibility for the matter, because it had left the electric line connected to the transformer, and Nored should have connected it following inspection.

Petrus says they appreciate Elektro Hinsch Contracting for paying for Veiko’s medical expenses at Ongwediva Medipark, but believe the company should continue paying until Veiko has fully recovered.

He says two weeks ago, he took Veiko to Elektro Hinsch’s office at Ongwediva and informed the company that Veiko was not feeling well following the incident.

They were reportedly informed by company director Carl Bothma that there was nothing the company could do, as it has already footed his bill at Ongwediva Medipark.

Petrus says Bothma told them to wait for a response from the company’s head office in Windhoek, which had not been received.

“I sent them an email, and a lady called me. She then promised to come back to me, but she did not honour her promise,” he says.

Petrus says Bothma told him Veiko would get well, as other people who went through the same experince have recovered.

“He said this while he has not seen the medical report of the victim,” he says.

Petrus says he has reported the matter to both Nored and the Electricity Control Board (ECB), but has not received satisfactory responses.

Nored visited the area on the day of the incident and drafted a report, Petrus says.

“They said the guy-wire had touched the live wire, and that is what caused the shock,” he says.

Contacted for comment last week, Bothma referred The Namibian to his lawyer.

Asked for the name of the lawyer, he said: “Find out from the people.”

According to Namibian Sun, Bothma confirmed the incident.

The newspaper reported that the company has corrected the mistake and taken responsibility for Veiko’s medical bills.

“We have not been informed of any further issues, as the doctors released him from the hospital after three days and ran tests to confirm he is stable,” Bothma was quoted as saying.

Bothma also said the company had been in the industry for a long time, and for the past 25 years they had never recorded such an incident.

He described the incident as an unfortunate once-off accident and added they would not be paying further compensation and would only be liable for medical bills.

Nored spokesperson Simon Lukas did not respond to phone calls and messages.