Harare (New Ziana) – The government will render funeral assistance to the families of the 10 people who died on Monday in a veld fire at a farm in Esigodini, Matabeleland South Province, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
The tragic incident occurred at Lot 43 farm when farm workers were trying to contain a raging fire which was sweeping through the farm.
According to reports, the veld fire started during strong winds sometime in the morning and the farm’s owner Abel Moyo enlisted the help of his farm workers and others from surrounding farms to put it out.
Mourning the victims, President Mnangagwa said he was shocked by the incident.
“I have since instructed Government to move in with assistance to the affected families, including meeting funeral expenses,” he said in a statement.
President Mnangagwa said while investigations were still underway, it was clear that veld fires stimulated by high winds had become a real threat to life and property.
As such, he said, a new national strategy was needed to minimise the growing menace.
“Both the Ministry in charge of our Environment, and our Civil Protection Department have to urgently get together so a comprehensive response to veld fires is developed across all Provinces,” he said.
“In the meantime, I appeal to all Zimbabweans to desist from starting uncontrolled fires, especially now when our velds are tinder dry and thus highly combustible. Where such fires break out accidentally, utmost care must be exercised in fighting them so we do not lose lives in such horrific, heart wrenching ways.
“On behalf of the Party, ZANU-PF, Government, my family and on my own behalf, I wish to express my deep, heartfelt condolences to families which have lost their beloved ones in this veld fire incident. In the same vein, I wish all those nursing burns from the fire speedy recovery.”
Earlier, the Zimbabwe Republic Police had released the names of the 10 victims.
In a statement, police spokesperson assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi said the victims were positively identified by their next of kin.
The victims included, Kessary Sibanda, a male adult aged 53 of Marula, Figtree, Ian Mudimba (38), Simon Mdlongwa (39), Nelisingwane Dlamini (47), Luzibo Tshuma, a male adult of Chiziya Malundu Village, in Binga.
Others included Oliver Mudimba (39), Bafana Moyo (53) of Dimbamiwa Village, Nkayi, England Moyo (20) of Nketa 8, Bulawayo, Thabani Mpofu (46) of Gwelutshena Village, Nkayi and Menelisi Ngwenya (20) of Mandangema Village, Nkayi.