Govt calls for concerted efforts in curbing veld fires

The government has called for concerted efforts in curbing veld fires, which are wreaking havoc across the country, acknowledging that it cannot do much on its own.

The call comes at a time when the country has just lost 10 lives following a veld fire outbreak at a farm in Esigodini, Matabeleland South.

The men who were both farm and mine workers were burnt to death by a raging inferno.

Responding to questions from legislators in the National Assembly Wednesday on what the government was doing to address the challenge, Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi on their own cannot do much.

“What is of paramount importance is not what the government is doing in terms of veld fires but the government can observe what is happening in all our areas,” said Ziyambi, who is also the leader of government business in the Lower House.

“It requires all of us to look into the issue and own it as individuals so that our land, livestock, and fields are not destroyed. This is an issue for Hon. Mudarikwa, MPs, the traditional leadership, and all the communities to ensure that they put a stop to the veld fires.”

He said the issue of veld fires was a serious cause of concern across the whole country.

“The issue of veld fires has disturbed us a lot, especially this year,” decried Ziyambi.

“There are laws in place which can cause people to be arrested but mostly what is happening is that our forests have been destroyed. The challenge is that the perpetrators of these veld fires cannot be identified.”

He said erecting fire guards has not helped that much in reducing veld fires.

“We still have fireguards in place in rural and communal areas,” said Ziyambi.

“The traditional leadership; the chiefs and headmen or village heads are in the forefront in ensuring that there are fireguards in place. The owners of the farms should put fireguards in place but the problem that we have is that where we even have a fireguard, because of the windy conditions, the fire will leap over the fireguard.”

He further said:  “Fines are in place but off-head, I cannot tell what they are because there have been changes to the fines several times. In the past few years, these have been deterrent fines but even if we put fireguards if we have not conscientised one another, especially those that look after mice and rabbits and cause veld fires willy-nilly, we will not win.”

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