Fire: Homes, powerlines gutted

2012-08-13 00:00

A RUNAWAY fire in Nkwenkwe, between Melmoth and Empangeni, gutted at least 50 homes on Saturday. Powerlines were also destroyed.

The families affected by the fire have been called to an emergency gathering today where they will receive government assistance.

Yesterday, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube, with the mayors of Uthungulu District and Mthonjaneni (Melmoth), ordered a soup kitchen to be set up because many families do not have any means to cook. Dinner was to be provided last night and meals will be supplied for the rest of the week.

Bazisile Gcabashe (85), who was initially reported to have died in the blaze, was later found alive.

The destroyed powerlines were part of a multi-million rand project by Co-operative Governance and Eskom.

While the damage is estimated to run into millions, the department will continue with the assessment for the next two days before a full report is presented to cabinet, after which people will be assisted with rebuilding houses.

Farmers’ organisation Tau SA last week said the government was not adhering to laws aimed at preventing veldfires. Deputy president Louis Meintjes said on Friday that the state often neglected to make firebreaks on its land before the fire season.

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