Elderly man killed after house catches alight during KZN’s veld fires

Disaster response teams put out fires in the King Cetshwayo District. Picture: KZN Cogta

Disaster response teams put out fires in the King Cetshwayo District. Picture: KZN Cogta

Published Jul 10, 2024


Durban — An elderly man was killed when his house went up in flames during veld fires in northern KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend.

Muntukabongwa Mphikeni Gazu, 67, died when flames engulfed his home on Sunday night in the Ezinyosini area of ward 1 in the uMlalazi Municipality.

KZN Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi sent his condolences to the Gazu family

Buthelezi sent disaster management teams to support the family, who lost everything in this tragic incident.

The King Cetshwayo District was the most affected by the wildfires, with uMfolozi, uMlalazi, Mthonjaneni, and Nkandla being the hardest-hit municipalities. In the uMlalazi municipality alone, 11 wards were affected, with one fatality and two injuries reported.

Department spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila said veld fires have impacted 144 people in the district, leaving 53 people homeless. Additionally, 48 houses were partially damaged, and 27 were destroyed.

He said the department is working closely with the municipality to ensure adequate support and relief to affected families, with social partners setting up soup kitchens.

Mzila said that in the coming days, Buthelezi will visit the affected communities to lead relief efforts.

On Thursday, Buthelezi will lead relief efforts in the Nkandla and uMlalazi local municipalities following raging wildfires that destroyed homes, grazing pastures and vehicles.

Buthelezi will be accompanied by senior officials from the Provincial Disaster Management Centre and will provide interventions to assist the affected communities.

Over the weekend, the SA Weather Service warned KZN residents of cold weather with damaging winds and waves resulting in destruction to property, difficult driving conditions and power interruptions as cold fronts move across the country. It also warned of wildfires.

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