Living In Fear
Living In Fear: Ofetotse

*Granny blasts ‘pathetic’ BPC

*”They will only act when an innocent life is lost”

For the last six weeks, 62-year-old Hildah Ofetotse has been living in danger.

A high voltage electric cable dangles haphazardly above her fence, the three power poles supporting the cable lean ominously over her immaculately manicured garden.

They are poised to fall at any moment.

It is the aftermath of a ferocious storm which battered the border village of Siviya in the first week of January.

A month-and-a-half later Ofetotse is yet to receive help.

“I have made numerous calls to Botswana Power Corporation, no help has been forthcoming!

“These poles were shaken from their upright position during a storm which occurred a few days after New Year. Since then the situation is getting worse. I first called the police to alert them of the danger, but they asked to call the fault number for BPC,” related the retired driving instructor who explained Siviya is prone to strong winds and lightning.

In her well-spoken English, the feisty grandmother claims BPC have sent her ‘from pillar to post’.

“I spent close to P70 worth of airtime calling the landline. Being put on hold and then transferred from one office to another. Still no help!” muttered Ofetotse, adding her persistence finally paid off – or so she thought – when she was given a mobile number to call.

“I reported the fault for the second time. I sent another text. This time I sent a harsh message. Only then did I get a response,” grumbled the old woman, scrolling through her phone to locate the message.

“Dear customer, kindly send full details to enable us to assist you. Your meter number, plot number, full names, the nature of your fault and your location,” reads the text, sent on 31 January.

The tall, heavily-built Ofetotse said the response annoyed her greatly, as a team of BPC technicians had already visited her home and seen the hazard posed by the poles and cable.

“All they said was that they were going to Dukwi because there was extensive damage there. They showed up late in the day and with no tools with them. I doubt they had genuinely come to fix anything. They promised to be back and up to this day I’m still waiting!” said Ofetotse, adding she has kept the text messages in case she decides to take legal action against BPC.

“Imagine the kind of damage these poles would cause should they fall on to my fence and the standpipe. Animals would roam freely into my yard and eat up the veggies in the garden!” charged the grandmother, who say her hope now rests with the media.

“You are the only ones who can give me solace. Because in Botswana when you don’t share the same surname with someone important or aren’t related to some heavyweight, a common Motswana will never get help,” exclaimed Ofetotse.

“BPC will only act when an innocent life is lost – and they will be doing it to defend themselves. I mean this is an accident waiting to happen. If these poles and cable fall to the ground; how will I go out or come into my yard. This is the only exit point I have. Does BPC expect me to climb the fence in order to get out?” she demanded, laughing humourlessly at the thought.

“Their service is pathetic. They do not care about human life. If I was owing them then they would have long been here or dragged me to court. Lives are in jeopardy here! Anything can happen to the children or livestock who roam and play along the dusty village streets,” she warned darkly.

With wild weather predicted in the upcoming week, Ofetotse fears the worst ‘unless BPC act immediately’.

Unfortunately, repeated efforts to contact the corporation for a response proved futile by the time of going to press.