Wheelchair-bound Karabo Tlhakole, 36, has shared his sad plight with The Monitor on how he walked into Borakanelo Police Station a normal healthy individual only to leave a paralysed man.
In visible pain of the memory, Tlhakole said it was on July 8, 2020 as a visitor to the police station to do an affidavit when a Botswana flagpole at the station fell on his back hitting the bones supporting his spinal cord and leaving him paralysed.
“It is the day I will never forget. I went to Borakanelo Police Station to seek their services a walking man and sadly that was the last day I walked,” he recalled.
Then, Tlhakole said the police rushed him to Extension 2 Clinic. He was later referred to Princess Marina Hospital (PMH) where he was hospitalised for four months. He said the doctors told him that he suffered an injury that harmed his spinal cord hence paralysing him from the waist down.
Tlhakole said when he was discharged from the hospital doctors proposed for him to undergo physiotherapy and be referred to a fledged hospital in Port Elizabeth, South Africa where he could receive better medical assistance that might help speed up his recovery.
He added that then, he requested medical assistance from Borakanelo police, but never got help until today. Tlhakole revealed he once wrote a letter to the Botswana Police Service (BPS) but one year and four months later, he is yet to receive help.
“I am always in pain due to this injury. I have long pleaded with the police to help me because I got injured by their flagpole that left me paralysed. I used to work for myself and feed my family but currently, my children are struggling and I have turned into a vegetable,” said the Otse native.
“What hurts me is that I might have progressed with my healing if I had money to undergo physiotherapy. I used to pay for my physiotherapy but I no longer have money to do so and BPS is yet to help me.”
Tlhakole said he feels the station is responsible and should help him recover because the flagpole was under their care and had long noticed that the rust had damaged it as they had tied it with some wire for support.
“The wheelchair that I am currently using is old. I also need a transfer machine for my family members to assist me using it because I cannot do anything for myself. My family is struggling because they have to bathe me whilst in bed. “My younger brother and my 60-year-old mother are struggling because of me. I am a burden to my mother and it hurts me because she is old and can no longer lift me to bathe me. I am pleading for help. I have been quiet all this time hoping that BPS will help me but I am now worried that the longer I keep quiet without pleading for help the longer I delay my recovery,” he said.
Furthermore, Tlhakole said he has engaged his lawyer to help speed up his assistance but he was told two months back that the Attorney General was still attending to the matter. Tlhakole said he is optimistic that he would recover because his hands used to be paralysed, but he has since recuperated in his upper extremities and his hands are working.
“Even my neck where I got injured I can turn it, something which shows that if I had the money for physiotherapy and other medications I might have recovered. Ke utlwa botlhoko ebile ke tshoga gore ditshika tsa maotlo di tloga di swela ruri,” Tlhakole said.
Quizzed on Tlhakole’s plight, Borakanelo Police Station commander, Superintendent Amos Solomon conceded to be aware of what transpired in July last year and he has been visiting Tlhakole at PMH when he was still hospitalised and fully understands his condition.
“I have long notified my superiors about Tlhakole’s condition and they promised to help him accordingly. Yes, the old Botswana flagpole indeed fell on him and he sustained serious injuries. That flagpole might have been damaged by rust and he got unlucky that day as it was windy and the flagpole fell on him when he was passing by. I have been pleading for his patience and I totally understand his frustration,” Solomon said.