South Africa — Raging veld fires in the North West have claimed the life of a farm worker and more than 400 cattle as they left a trail of destruction.
Public safety and liaison spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele said a 21-year-old farmworker died after he was caught up in the fire in the Groot Marico area on Tuesday afternoon.
The farmworker was reportedly gathering cattle to protect them from the fire when he was caught up in the blaze. His body was later discovered after the fire was brought under control. A colleague of his was also hurt in the fire that was fuelled by winds which were blowing at around 53km/h, he said.
Meanwhile provincial police spokesperson Brig Thulane Ngubani said the veld fires had killed more than 400 cattle and destroyed about 50000 hectares of grazing.
After some of the fire was put out, it was discovered that in the Carletonville-Welverdiend area, in the farms Kiel and Turfontein belonging to 52-year-old Hennie van Rensburg, a stock farmer, 400 adult cattle and 18 calves died.
Some of the cattle were killed instantly by the fire while others had to be put down by the SPCA and the farm owners. Other nearby farmers reported the loss of one or two cattle, he said
Major roads linking the province to Gauteng and Free State provinces were closed for fear of accidents. At least two cattle were reported dead as a result of the fire that was still burning in the Gauteng areas.