Environmental Affairs Minister Mrs Edna Molewa has sent condolences to the Ramokgaba family. Mr. Modikwe Samuel Ramokgaba, from Swartklip Village in Northam, Limpopo, fell and sustained burns while fighting fire in the Northan area. He was immediately airlifted to Bela-Bela Hospital for emergency treatment. However, he succumbed to his injuries and died in hospital on Sunday evening. He was 35 years old and is survived by his mother and two children.
“We are deeply saddened by his untimely death. At a time of great sadness for the family of the deceased and for all of us at the Department of Environmental Affairs, we salute Ramokgaba’s bravery and dedication to his work. He leaves the Working on Fire Programme and the firefighting industry much poorer than ever before.”
Minister Molewa also said that the Working on Fire programme will be providing all the necessary support to his family and members of his team. The South African Police Service has been informed and a full investigation has been launched surrounding the circumstances of this incident.
Meanwhile the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire (WoF) has managed to contain the wildfires across the Limpopo province which started over the past weekend.
A number of the fires, which broke out in mountainous terrain spreading quickly into other areas difficult for veldfire fighters to access, were caused by lightning. A total of 260 WoF veldfire fighters, air support, fire trucks and bakkie sakkies were deployed to more than 20 fires in different areas of the Waterberg. An Incident Command Structure was established based at Alma.
Due to the range and intensity of the wild fires, WoF mobilised additional resources from other provinces to the Waterberg District. Additional resources included five Ground Teams supported by fire trucks from Mpumalanga and Gauteng Provinces. A total of 15 teams are now in this area fighting wildfires.
It is estimated that 70,000 hectares of land, one farmhouse, three houses, three vehicles, two lodges and wild and domestic animals have been lost to wildfires.