Minister visits Free State fire victims

2014-09-20 16:04
Senzeni Zokwana (City Press)

Senzeni Zokwana (City Press)

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Johannesburg - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana visited a Harrismith woman who lost her husband and son in a veldfire, the department said on Saturday.

Johann Mocke and 15-year-old Zander Mocke died in the fire, said spokesperson Palesa Mokomele.

The minister on Friday, assessed the damage caused by the fire.

"Thirty-four thousand hectares of grazing land were razed to the ground, 1 000 sheep and 350 herd of cattle also died," Mokomele said.

Eight farmhouses and other infrastructure were also destroyed.

Khela Mokoena also died and three other people were hospitalised, one person was in a critical condition.

The cause of the fire was unknown, but had been extinguished.

During his visit, Zokwana was briefed by the MEC of agriculture and rural development, Mamiki Qabethe, the police and various other safety and disaster service representatives.

"Going to Harrismith to witness the devastation first hand, and meeting the family of the father and son who died, was extremely touching," Zokwana said in a statement.

"We conveyed a message of support to Mrs Melonie Mocke who is clearly devastated by her enormous loss. Getting additional, trained fire-fighting personnel will greatly assist us in preventing damages of this extent. We also greatly require more fire-fighting equipment to improve our capacity."

Zokwana said the department would provide immediate assistance to the workers and farmers who had lost their livelihoods and homes in the form of counselling, fodder for livestock, fence repairs and medication for animals.

Read more on:    senzeni zokwana  |  bloemfontein  |  fire

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