Charged for starting veld fires

Charged for starting veld fires

15 August 2007

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Mbabane, Swaziland — In a rare instance, police arrested and charged a woman of Nkhaba for contravening the Grass Fires Act by burning a portion of grassland, a common practice known as kubabela.

Marion Hlophe of Majotini, Nkhaba area under chief Bhekimpi has learned the hard way as police arrested and charged her of grass burning.

She appeared yesterday at the Mbabane magistrate court, where she was found to have on the 12th of August , wrongfully, unlawfully and intentionally set fire with intent to burn grass and did burn the grass in contravention of the Grass Fires act ,No 44 of 1955 as amended P.47/1963.

She pleaded guilty to the charge and Magistrate Henry Khumalo who presided over the matter sentenced her to two months imprisonment or a fine option of E 200, which she paid. Melusi Lukhele prosecuted in the matter while Xolile Dlamini interpreted.

This follows widespread destruction caused by wild veld fires that destroyed 80 percent of the commercial forests of Mondi in Pigg’s Peak and Sappi Usutu in Bhunya and Mhlambanyatsi.

As a resul, government set up a steering committee shortly after the veld fires were declared a national disaster.

His Majesty King Mswati III has also come out to garner support for the victims. A number of humanitarian organisation such as faith based ones have already intervened in hard areas such as Mvuma in Hhohho.

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