Home South Africa News SANDF releases names of members who perished in N Cape fire

SANDF releases names of members who perished in N Cape fire

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SANDF

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has released the names of the six members who died on Friday at Lohatla Military Combat Training Centre in the Northern Cape when a wildfire engulfed the army property. Three soldiers who remain in hospital suffered severe burns while on the SA Army’s Vuk’uhlome exercise.

The names are: Staff Sergeant Abraham Morajane, Staff Sergeant Sipho Cele, Corporal Sithembiso Ndwalane, Corporal Noxolo Ngubane, Lance Corporal Prince Mthethwa and Lance Corporal Londiwe Zulu.

Relatives of the deceased are expected to identify their bodies from Monday. Meanwhile, some Northern Cape farmers who were also severely affected by the wildfire say the fires that have ravaged the John Taolo Gaetsewe District since June, are orchestrated.

The farmers who are counting their losses say they remain on the back foot. At least 480 000 hectares of grazing land has been destroyed since June with some farmers also losing livestock to the flames.

The fire which has been raging since Friday, continues to flare up around Kathu, Postmasburg and the Lohatla SA Army combat training centre.SANDF spokesperson, Major General, Patrick Dube says, “In the northern part of the range there is still fire there, but it is under control, but of course, if the direction of the wind does not change we foresee that the fire will go into an already burned area. I think more also into this is that an hour ago we received a helicopter to look into the area where the fire damaged some of our resources. The helicopter can take pictures so that when we start with our investigation everything will come to light.”

The SANDF says its members, who were preparing for the SA Army’s Vuk’uhlome exercise on Friday, have lost everything in the fire.

The army reached out to the Gift of the Givers for donations.

The Department of Home Affairs is also expected to visit the combat training centre in the coming days, to help those who have lost their identity documents.

Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman says, “Gift of the Givers received an urgent call yesterday afternoon for urgent assistance for 13 000 who lost all their personal belonging in the devasting fire at the Lohatla Combat Training Centre in Postmasburg. The request for clothing includes underwear, hygiene packs, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, facecloths, hand towels, sanitary pads, energy drinks and blankets. Gift of the Givers team is loading our truck in Johannesburg with the items requested whilst team members are sourcing additional supplies from wholesalers this morning and will be en route to Kuruman today.”

Farmers who are also casualties of the devastation say they lost grazing land. They called on authorities to investigate the veld fires that have troubled areas around Kuruman, Kathu and Danielskuil since June.

Farmers affected by the fires will have to dig deep into their pockets to keep their livestock alive. AGRI Northern Cape has committed to helping some farmers following the blaze.

Source: eNCA

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