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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


DA calls for independent probe into deaths of soldiers in blaze

Six died and three others were seriously injured in the fire which caused extensive damage to multiple military vehicles and equipment.


The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Defence Minister Thandi Modise to launch an independent investigation into the deaths of six South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers who lost their lives in a raging veld fire in the Northern Cape.

These soldiers perished when the veld fire swept across the SANDF Combat Training Centre in Lohatla last Friday. Three others suffered serious injuries in the incident, and the fire also caused extensive damage to multiple military vehicles and equipment.

The DA‘s parliamentary representative for defence and military veterans, Kobus Marais said: “The DA thanks the SANDF members who did exceptional work to limit the further loss of life and damage to the facility and equipment. We call on Defence Minister Thandi Modise to launch an independent investigation to provide closure after the horrific incident and to ensure that the necessary preventive measures are in place.”

“We also pay tribute to the farming community that used their own equipment to help fight the blaze,” Marais said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Northern Cape veld fire claims lives of six soldiers, destroys military vehicles

Soldiers

The SA Army released names of the members who passed away.

“The members who met their untimely death following the unfortunate incident are: Staff  Sergeant Abraham Desember Morajane, Staff Sergeant Sipho Berrington Cele, Corporal  Sithembiso Wiseman Ndwalane, Corporal Noxolo Faith Ngubane, Lance Corporal Prince  Michael Mthethwa and Lance Corporal Londiwe Purity Zulu.

“The departed warriors will be fondly remembered for their fearlessness, sacrifice and  defiant spirit throughout their military careers, and they will be sorely missed in the South African Military fraternity,” it said.

Aid

Meanwhile, NGO Gift of the Givers, has provided aid to more than 1 000 soldiers whose belongings were destroyed in the fire.

“The SANDF made an urgent request for clothing including underwear, hygiene packs, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, face cloths, hand towels, sanitary pads, energy drinks and blankets,” Founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, said.

ALSO READ: 7 SANDF members die in one day – What went wrong?

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