Welkom mother dies

Riana Barkley (41) Photo: Facebook

Welkom mother dies after generator explode during load shedding

A 41-year-old mother from Welkom died after the generator she wanted to start exploded during load shedding on Wednesday.

Welkom mother dies

Riana Barkley (41) Photo: Facebook

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


Police spokesperson Captain Stephen Thakeng said the fatal incident happened on Wednesday. 

“Apparently, it was load shedding at about 15:50 when a Welkomite woman, Riana Barkley, wanted to switch on the generator when it exploded,” he said. 

The 41-year-old Riana lived at Lakeview in Welkom with her husband and two children.   

She sustained severe burn wounds on her upper body, hands, feet, and face.

Thakeng said Riana was rushed to the Welkom Medic Clinic, but she, unfortunately, died at the hospital. 


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

Riana posted on her Facebook an advert for a generator last month saying this should work for the eight hours of load shedding they get a day in Welkom. 

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

The media report said with billions of rands in debt and with dismal audit outcomes, there are warnings municipalities in the Free State province are facing imminent collapse.

ALSO READ: Video | Man hijacked during load shedding as he closes the gate

“The Matjhabeng Local Municipality, tasked with serving towns like Welkom and Virginia, owes millions of rands to Eskom. In turn, Eskom has resorted to taking over farmland from the council to secure its debt.

“Meanwhile, as Sedibeng Water struggles to get the council to repay the billions it is owed, residents bear the brunt of the dysfunction and businesses contend with irregular water supply, no electricity, and raw sewage on their doorstep,” it said.


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

  • Install it correctly. Plugging your generator into a wall plug is known as ‘back feeding’, and it’s a bad idea. To stay legal, and covered for any damages, have a manual transfer switch installed that distributes power in a safe manner.
  • Keep the area clear. Generators are small engines, and as such, give off a lot of heat. Wear protective gloves before touching your generator, and prevent fires by keeping it well clear of any items stored in your garage. You should also keep a fire extinguisher close at hand.
  • Make sure it’s ventilated. It’s essential that portable generators are operated in open areas with good airflow to prevent carbon monoxide build-up. Some generator owners invest in a carbon monoxide detector to be safe. Fuel should also be stored safely, with adequate ventilation.
  • Keep it tidy. All power cords should be kept clear of any footpaths and should be checked regularly for any damage that could cause a fire.
  • Keep all bases covered. Make sure that your generator or inverter powers your electric fence, gate, and alarm as well as the TV and kitchen essentials, as burglars are all too quick to exploit opportunities caused by power outages. If you don’t have an alternative power supply, make sure your fence, gate, and alarm have a battery back-up that’s sufficient to see you through your darkest moments.
  • Cover your generator too. You would typically insure a portable generator under your home contents. A stationary generator becomes a fixed fitting once installed, and must be added to your building’s cover.