Other Johannesburg residents have reported shower shocks as the city grid nears collapse. City Power has instituted an urgent investigation.
Just 10 days ago, Zaheer Sarang and Nabeela Khan got married and agreed to spend their lives together – instead, they were buried in a joint funeral on Monday after being electrocuted in their Crosby, Johannesburg, home at the weekend.
Zaheer’s parents, Yusuf and Anisa Sarang, live in the main house and had built a cottage for the young couple. The couple got home from their honeymoon on Saturday night, and Zaheer’s parents thought the couple was lying in on Sunday morning.
However, that afternoon Yusuf Sarang became worried as the curtains in the cottage remained closed, and there was no sign of life. He forced open the door to discover the bodies of his son and daughter-in-law.
The family believes that Nabeela Khan-Sarang was electrocuted in the shower, and that Zaheer tried to help her and was also electrocuted.
City Power CEO Mongezi Ntsokolo has launched an urgent investigation while the SA Police Service has opened an inquest.
Last week, the family got slight shocks when they used the taps and reported the problem to City Power several times. Other community members have made similar reports of electric currents running through their water.
Crosby – west of Johannesburg – Soweto and Alexandra are the areas worst affected by the city’s electricity and water crisis. Crosby was also recently without water for days – it is in the same municipal ward as the Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa hospitals, where operations had to be cancelled and many services halted because of water cuts. Gift of the Givers has installed a borehole at Rahima Moosa and will start digging one at Helen Joseph.
The family’s spokesperson, Ricky Nair, a community activist, says City Power must investigate illegal connections across the area. He says a woman and child were electrocuted at the Slovo informal settlement in the ward last year after residents hung wet blankets over electrical wiring.
As news spread of the death of the couple, numerous other residents came forward to show their reports to City Power, which they place on community WhatsApp groups.
One of these read: “Two weeks back City Power technicians worked on the pole and there was a power surge in our house which blew appliances; since then we are getting shocked in [the] bathroom and [by the] kitchen taps. I thought this might be related to our [electricity] board, but we have had a private electrician come check, and he said the problem is definitely from the pole.”
Resident Ridwaan Coovadia told Daily Maverick, “I went into the shower…