DURBAN: The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Ravi Pillay, has expressed sadness over the deaths of two people following a fire that broke out on the Shayamanzi luxury houseboat on Sunday.
The department said a crew member and a German tourist died during the incident. A a crew member was missing.
“I am deeply saddened by this incident and wish to convey my sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who are deceased.
“We welcome the investigation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority and we believe it will help shed some light on the cause of the fire. We are also encouraged by the announcement made by the owners of the business that they will support the investigation,” Pillay said.
The MEC is expected to head to Jozini on Monday morning to meet the family of the deceased guest to convey his condolences. He is also due to meet the owners of the establishment, as part of the fact-finding mission.
Condolences have been pouring in on the Shayamanzi Houseboat Facebook page.
The organisation posted: “We are heartbroken to inform you, that as a result of a fire on Shayamanzi l, a tragic accident has resulted in a loss of life of one of our guests and a crew member.
“As a long-established family owned business, we are devastated and are doing everything possible to understand and support the investigation and impact on our guests, crew and their families.
“On behalf of the Shayamanzi Team our sincere condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We mourn with you.”
Penny Johnston Rice wrote: “Please accept our sincerest condolences from all of us at Isibindi Africa Lodges we are deeply saddened to read this awful news. #isibindilove.”
Rob Wacher wrote: “So terribly sad! We had a wonderful time with capt Anthony and his crew earlier this year. Devastated for you and your team.”
According to KZN police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala, it is alleged that on Sunday at 16:30pm, a house boat with nine people caught fire at Jozini Dam.
“They all jumped into the water and unfortunately three drowned, two bodies were recovered in the dam. The police officers from the Empangeni Search and Rescue are still searching for the missing victim.”