The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has disclosed the names of the six brave members who lost their lives in a devastating wildfire that swept through the Lohatla Military Combat Training Centre in the Northern Cape. The tragic incident occurred during the SA Army’s Vuk’uhlome exercise as reported by SABC News.
The fallen heroes are:
- Staff Sergeant Abraham Morajane
- Staff Sergeant Sipho Cele
- Corporal Sithembiso Ndwalane
- Corporal Noxolo Ngubane
- Lance Corporal Prince Mthethwa
- Lance Corporal Londiwe Zulu
While we mourn the loss of these courageous soldiers, three other soldiers who sustained severe burns in the incident are currently receiving medical treatment in a hospital. The grieving relatives of the deceased will begin the difficult task of identifying their loved ones on Monday.
A wildfire has devastated the John Taolo Gaetsewe District in the Northern Cape since June. Some affected farmers suspect foul play and believe these fires are orchestrated. They have suffered immense losses, with approximately 480,000 hectares of grasing land destroyed and livestock falling victim to the flames.
The wildfire, which continues to burn, has caused significant challenges for these farmers. SANDF spokesperson Major General Patrick Dube acknowledged the ongoing firefighting efforts and mentioned that a helicopter had been deployed to investigate the area where the fire damaged some military resources. He also indicated that the direction of the fire could enter areas that have already been affected.
The SANDF members who were preparing for the SA Army’s Vuk’uhlome exercise lost everything in the fire. In response, they reached out to the Gift of the Givers for assistance. The Department of Home Affairs is expected to visit the combat training centre in the coming days to help those who lost their identity documents.
Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, stated that they received an urgent request for assistance from the 13,000 individuals who lost their personal belongings in the devastating fire. The requested items include clothing, hygiene packs, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, facecloths, hand towels, sanitary pads, energy drinks, and blankets. Gift of the Givers actively provides aid and support to the affected individuals.
Farmers who have also been affected by the wildfires are calling for authorities to investigate the veld fires that have plagued areas around Kuruman, Kathu, and Danielskuil since June. These farmers are now grappling with the financial burden of keeping their livestock alive after the fires. AGRI Northern Cape has pledged assistance to some of the affected farmers.
The SA Army Media Statement || Sunday, 08 October 2023 || The SA Army releases the names of the departed warriors who were victims of the fire that ripped across the Combat Training Centre on Friday, 06 October 2023.
— SA National Defence Force (@SANDF_ZA) October 8, 2023
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Photo: Facebook / @ SABC News