ZCP calls for probe into Esigodini veld fire

The Zimbabwe Communist Party (ZCP) has called for comprehensive investigations into the Esigodini veld fire which claimed 10 lives.

The men were trying to put out a raging inferno which broke out at Lot 43 on Monday morning but unfortunately succumbed to the fire.

Five others sustained severe burns and are currently receiving treatment.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has since granted state-assisted funerals to the victims.

In a statement, ZCP said it believes the tragedy was due to human negligence.

“That so many workers died together suggests negligence,” said the party.

“The Zimbabwe Communist Party demands a full investigation. The ZCP does not believe that this was an ‘Act of God’. We believe that this tragedy is due to human negligence. We believe that this tragedy could have been avoided.”

The party condemned as bad practice the burning of dry grass by Zimbabweans with the hope of making way for new grass after the rain.

“This actually reduces the number of seeds of sweeter kinds of grass,” said ZCP.

“The Savoury Institute which started in Zimbabwe under the leadership of Allan Savoury has long promoted paddocked grazing to remove all dry grass leaving the faeces and urine of cattle to promote new growth. We suggest that those involved in livestock raising should study these techniques.”

Artisanal miners (amakorokoza), ZPC alleged, have been known on several occasions to start bushfires in order to clear the ground to facilitate their search for gold.

“Were there fire-breaks on the farm? And if not, why not?” questioned the party.

“Fire-breaks are strips of land several metres wide where bush, trees and long grass are removed making it possible to restrict fire to a relatively small area. If fire breaks were not there, both the farmer and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) have questions to answer.”

The party questioned further: “What kind of protective clothing and what kind of training was given to workers on the management of bush fires? Reports say that workers died of smoke inhalation. Were masks provided?”

The party said more questions needed to be answered.

“Once again, the ZCP demands a thorough investigation,” emphasized the party. “Negligence is clear in this case, but we need concrete evidence and investigation of the farmer, the EMA and the way that our fire service operates. Let us have no more of such preventable tragedies.”

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