Sqhwehle Masondo, newly appointed inspector of mines in the Rustenburg area was driving back to the office after his visit to one of the platinum mines. He felt satisfied, he has done well for himself. Twenty-six years old, four years since the completion of his studies and he was an inspector of mines and he got their quicker than the people in the old days used to do. Today was particularly satisfying. He issued a Section 54, not that there was a particularly life threatening situation, but because he could and he thoroughly enjoyed the look of shock on the face of the arrogant asshole of a manager.
Walking into the building housing the DME offices he proceeded up the stairs. Halfway up the first flight of stairs, one of the many loose tiles caused him to stumble resulting in a sprained ankle and twisted knee. With great difficulty, he hobbled to his office.
Needing to fill out a preliminary injury report, he switched on his computer and plugged the printer into the wall socket, torn out of its box and suspended only from the electric wiring leading to it. As he pushed the plug into the socket, he felt a sharp shock and jerked away from the socket as if a snake bit him. This action resulted in him bumping into the filing cabinet next to the electric socket. The stack of files on top of the cabinet tumbled onto him, causing him to fall backwards. A wood screw, protruding from a piece of wood which somehow became detached from a wooden desk a few days earlier and now lying on the floor, penetrated his anatomy between his scrotum and anus at an angle resulting in the screw imbedding itself next to and in touch with Sqwhehle’s prostrate. In the process, he also knocked his head against the side of the desk, rendering him mercifully unconscious.
Sqhwehle regained consciousness as the paramedics arrived and proceeded to prepare him for stretcher transport. With him lying on his back, the paramedics were not aware of the screw imbedded in his anatomy. As they started moving him, the movement of the screw resulted in excruciating pain but also an immediate erection and orgasm every time the screw moved against his prostrate gland. The paramedics strapped him to the stretcher and could not understand the screams of pain interspersed with howls of ecstasy coupled with a happy, but also agonised expression, on Sqwhehle’s face. They started carrying him down the stairs on the stretcher. The procession was almost halfway down the stairs when the front stretcher-bearer’s foot hooked in the cavity left by a missing tile causing him to fall and tumble head over heals until he came to rest on the landing at the bottom of the stairs where he lied prone with his neck twisted at an unnatural angle. When the first stretcher-bearer fell, the rear bearer lost control of the stretcher and the stretcher containing the unfortunate Sqwhehle bounced down the stairs, resulting in waves of agony and ecstasy wracking the unfortunate Sqwhehle’s convulsing and battered body. When the stretcher reached the bottom of the stairs, the leading end rammed into the ribcage of the first stretcher-bearer. The momentum of the stretcher caused it to cartwheel twice, each time bouncing Sqwhehle’s head on the floor rendering him unconscious once again. The stretcher finally came to rest against a wall. Sqhwehle had blood streaming from all the natural orifices in his head as well as from some openings that weren’t there before.
Just then, Krappies Bothma, acting principal inspector, twice retired and now working as a contractor to complete the mentoring he was supposed to have done during his previous tenure, walked into the building and was confronted by a very dead-looking paramedic and a bleeding and unconscious Sqwhehle. Krappies’ eyes locked on the jerking body of Sqwhehle and he just shook his head. Funny, he did not look particularly surprised.
To cut a long story short, the paramedic was pronounced dead and Sqwhehle, because of brain damage, will suffer from spastic convulsions for the rest of his life. This should not be too awkward since he has had a nervous twitch since the day he fell of the train roof whilst he was train surfing on the Soweto-Johannesburg line.
The Minister expressed her sympathy with the victims and re-iterated the need to reduce mine accidents. She called on mining companies to take safety seriously. She made the point that the poor attitude demonstrated by the owners and management in mining industry, causes unfortunate accidents such as this unfortunate incidents. The President of NUM called for a stay-away in the Rustenburg area to show solidarity and to make mine owners and mine management aware of the risks facing mineworkers.
The CEO of the mining company that caused this terrible accident expressed his condolences with the family of the deceased and promised the companies’ support for the family of the injured. He stated that the stakeholders must work together in their attempts to create a safer environment. It was announced the following day that he decided to accept a position as CEO of a mining company in Australia.
Note: Any similarity to real people, situations and occurrences referred to in “Could This Really Happen” are purely coincidental. If you find the story getting to close to home, do not worry, it is set in a South African environment after all.