A veld fire at a farm that belongs to outspoken Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture Kazenambo Kazenambo claimed the lives of a farm worker and that of a resident from a neighbouring farm last week Friday.One of the deceased, Uateza Ndura, a former chauffeur of current Swapo Party backbencher Peter Katjavivi was one of the minister’s longest serving farm workers. Kazenambo refused to comment on what caused the fire or the extent of its damage but confirmed the deaths, saying he was busy with the funeral arrangements.
“I’m not ready to comment on this matter right now, I’m sitting with the bodies of two people who died on my farm and I don’t know what positive impact talking to the media will have on this situation,” Kazenambo said.Kazenambo refused to dwell on whether foul play was suspected, but The Villager has gathered that the fire is said to have occurred a distance away from the homesteads where the two deceased were summoned for assistance from the neighbouring farm. Both suffered severe body burns of more than 90% degrees and were rushed to Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek.Ndura died on Friday night while the other unidentified employee from the San Community and who is said not to have proper ID documents, died on Sunday morning (yesterday).The Namibian Police at Okakarara confirmed the fire adding that the police rushed to the scene and helped extinguish it.Police regional Commander for the Otjozondjupa region, Anghuwo Joseph Anghuwo confirmed that farm fires in his region are fast becoming a phenomenon.
“This year alone we had over five fires that we had to extinguish in Otjiwarongo and there are more fires that occurred in the Okakarara area,” Anghuwo said.
Queried on the causes of fires he maintained that the causes is usually not known as by the time the police arrives at the scene.
But the police always suspect that most of the fires occur as a result of negligent by some of the farmers, their families or their workers, he said.
“Sometimes it is due to smokers who throw their cigarette butts everywhere and other times it can be because the farmer is a charcoal producer and the fire gets out of hand,” said Anghuwo.
He, however, maintained that injuries are usually minimal and no other fatalities, apart from the ones at Kazenambo’s farm, have been recorded in that area as a result of a fire since January.
Their challenge, he said, was the lack of proper fire fighting equipment.
It has emerged that the fire engines that are available in the area are limited to municipal areas and cannot attend to incidences that are on private farms.
To this end, members of the Namibian police are forced to come up with creative way of addressing fires in the region.
“I have managed to get an experienced team together and we are using rubber attached to sticks to put out farm fires,” Anghuwo said.
He called on Government to look into the matter so as to provide regional government with fire fighting equipment.
“Fire engines in the regions should be under regional government and not local authorities. In that way we can effectively fight fires and avoid such fatalities,” Anghuwo said.