KZN probes PMB landfill fire amid allegations of ’sabotage’
Durban - THE KwaZulu-Natal government has called for an investigation into the New England Road landfill fire in Pietermaritzburg following the devastating smoke which affected residents and motorists on the N3 last week.
The executive council has tasked Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli to investigate allegations that sabotage may have been behind the fire.
“If those allegations are substantiated, those behind this dastardly act must be brought to book and prosecuted. This work (investigation) will include following up on criminal cases lodged during the first incident,” said the council.
It welcomed a report that smog from the fire, which polluted the entire area and posed a serious health risk to the residents, had been brought under control.
Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy on Thursday saluted the team of firefighters from Working on Fire (WoF) deployed to battle the blaze. Seventy-eight firefighters and management and 10 support vehicles from the department’s WoF programme in KZN were sent to contain the fire. Working on Fire is a government-funded job- creation programme which aims to implement integrated fire management.
The fire broke out on July 20 and the cause has yet to be determined.
A day later, the municipality’s environmental health unit issued a warning, asking those in ill health who live close to the site to evacuate their homes.
On July 24, part of the N3 highway, near New England Road, was closed due to the clouds of smoke that billowed over the motorway.
According to Creecy, the spike in cold weather, along with dry vegetation and strong wind, have created perfect conditions for fires.
She urged people to remain vigilant when lighting fires.