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Welkom’s mother dies after generator explosion during load shedding

A Welkom mother died after the generator she wanted to start exploded during a load shedding Wednesday.


Police spokesman Captain Stephen Thakeng said the fatal incident occurred on Wednesday.

“Apparently there was a load shedding around 3:50 pm when a Welkomite woman, Riana Barkley, wanted to turn on the generator when it exploded,” he said.

Riana, 41, lived in Lakeview in Welkom with her husband and two children.

She suffered severe burns to her upper body, hands, feet and face.

Thakeng said Riana was rushed to the Welkom Medic clinic, but sadly died in hospital.


“One case of investigation has been registered for further investigation,” he said.

Riana posted an ad for a generator on her Facebook last month saying it should work for the eight hours of load shedding they get per day at Welkom.

Last month, Carte Blanche reported on the dysfunction in Welkom and surrounding towns.

The media report said that with billions of rand in debt and dismal audit results, there are warnings that municipalities in the Free State province face impending collapse.

ALSO READ: Video | A man hijacked during a load shedding as he closes the gate

“The local municipality of Matjhabeng, responsible for serving towns like Welkom and Virginia, owes Eskom millions of rand. In turn, Eskom resorted to repossessing the council’s farmland to secure its debt.

“Meanwhile, as Sedibeng Water struggles to get the council back the billions owed to it, residents bear the brunt of the malfunction and businesses grapple with an erratic water supply, no electricity and sewage. untreated at their doorstep, ”he said.


Here are some tips for using a generator set safely during load shedding:

  • Install it correctly. Plugging your generator into a wall outlet is known as “return feed”, and it’s a bad idea. To stay legal and covered for any damage, install a manual transfer switch that distributes power safely.
  • Keep the area clear. Generators are small motors and as such give off a lot of heat. Wear protective gloves before touching your generator and prevent fires by keeping it well away from any items stored in your garage. You should also keep a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Make sure it is ventilated. It is essential that portable generators operate in open areas with good air circulation to prevent carbon monoxide build-up. Some generator owners invest in a carbon monoxide detector for added safety. Fuel should also be stored safely, with adequate ventilation.
  • Keep it tidy. All power cords should be kept away from any footpath and should be checked regularly for any damage that could cause a fire.
  • Keep all bases covered. Make sure your generator or inverter powers your electric fence, gate, and alarm as well as TV and kitchen essentials, as burglars are all too quick to exploit opportunities caused by power outages. If you don’t have an alternate power supply, make sure your fence, gate, and alarm have enough battery backup to help you get through your darkest times.
  • Cover your generator as well. You would usually insure a portable generator under the contents of your home. A fixed generator becomes a fixed element once installed, and must be added to the roof of your building.