HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsZesa mustn’t duck responsibility

Zesa mustn’t duck responsibility


The story of Nyasha Koroka, the farm worker who lost an arm after being struck by live Zesa cables that were reportedly left lying, in apparent negligence, on a farm, makes very sad reading.

NewsDay Editorial

The woman, a single mother of three, not only lost an arm, but has also suffered and may continue to suffer eye cataracts, seizures and chronic pain for the rest of her life.

Koroka says she has, since the accident three years ago, been trying in vain to get redress for the disability, pain, loss of amenity and many other damages she suffered because of the apparent negligence by the national power utility, Zesa
Ordinarily, the woman could be claiming a lot of money, but for a poor farm labourer without legal counsel, she is asking for just $30 000, clearly not enough compensation for loss of an arm – whosever that arm may be — a lawyer’s or a
farm labourer’s.

According to Koroka, she has tried countless times to get redress, but Zesa has not paid her “even a cent”.

The power utility only paid her medical bills for treatment of the third degree burns she suffered and the subsequent amputation of her arm — and then abandoned her.
Needless to say, Koroka can no longer work on the farm to earn a living for herself and her three children because she has lost an arm.

According to her hospital records dated March 1, 2010, compiled by a doctor at Parirenyatwa Hospital where she was treated, Koroka “sustained third degree burns involving the back of the trunk, lateral aspects of the left lower limb and left upper limb . . . The left upper limb was the entry point and the left hand was gangrenous up to the mid forearm . . .

“These burns resulted in the left below elbow amputation of her left hand and forearm. The exit point was the left lateral aspect of the head and there was loss of consciousness.

“Long-term complications are post-electrical burns syndrome, which include cataracts, seizures and chronic pain. Left below elbow amputation will result in permanent disability and phantom limb pain.”

According to Koroka, the accident happened when she was visiting a neighbouring farm when she got into contact with a live main Zesa line that had fallen several days before, because of incessant heavy rains. She says Zesa had been informed of the fallen live cables, but had done nothing about it.

Whatever the case might have been, it is apparently clear that Zesa must take responsibility for the injury, disability and suffering that this poor farm labourer has and is still
going through.
Zesa’s reported refusal to pay compensation for this is not only cruel to a helpless single mother, but also $30 000 is really small change considering loss of an arm and permanent pain and trauma.

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