Following our visit this morning with the bereaved Newlands family who blame the eThekwini Municipality for the death of their mother, Rosemary Frank, ActionSA has resolved to assist the family in their pursuit of legal action against eThekwini.
A former teacher, Frank (63) died after the eThekwini Municipality disconnected the family’s electricity supply for alleged non-payment, causing her oxygen supply tank to switch off while her daughter was outside pleading with the workers to give her a few minutes to turn on the generator.
Like many residents of Durban, it is alleged that Frank’s municipal account was incorrect, however her power was cut-off mercilessly despite the protests of her family.
Despite Frank’s daughter, Loreal pleading for only 5 minutes of grace so that she may switch on the generator, the municipal workers insisted “on doing their job.”
While it is well noted that municipal workers are not in any position to change the instruction to cut off electricity or water supplies of unpaying residents, Loreal’s request was not an unreasonable one. Frank’s daughter was not asking for the order to be rescinded, she was simply asking for a few minutes of grace to ensure that her mother’s oxygen tank remains functional. Unfortunately, her request fell on deaf ears, and Rosemary Frank, unable to draw oxygen from the tank, died.
Now, the family intends to sue the eThekwini Municipality whose actions they feel were inhumane and therefore hold them responsible for their mother’s death.
Once again, ActionSA has been called by yet another family feeling the brunt of inhumane behaviour at the hands of our municipalities. From Lily Mine, Hammanskraal and Mamelodi, it appears that ordinary citizens all around our country cannot come up for air as the knees of state organs are constantly on their necks.
One may ask what happened to our sense of Ubuntu? Have we degenerated that much as a society that even employees on the ground are so desensitised to the everyday, justifiable pains poor people in our country go through?
We as ActionSA will not standby and allow these types of inhumane behaviours by government officials to continue to be meted out against the poor people of our country, because despite their station in life or society, their lives matter too.
To this end, ActionSA has sought the services of Warrick De Wet Attorneys in Umhlanga to assist the family seek justice for their mother, and hold the eThekhwini Municipality to account for this inhumane act.