Monday, August 27, 2012

Veldfires are also Crime Scenes – Believe it or not!

It feels like yesterday that I posted an article about the numerous unnatural veldfires raging in various places in South Africa. A full year has passed since that article was published, and South Africa hasn’t stopped burning… In fact, the flames are as rampant and uncontrollable as ever.  I am, of course, not referring exclusively to veldfires as we all know by now that one doesn’t need Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s boxes of matches (or her necklaces) to keep the flames of chaos burning in this country.

To be truly honest - I’m quite fedup of all the protests and other depressing news going on in South Africa (have felt this way for some time now); this article will thus focus on veldfires that took place in South Africa during the month of August 2012. I realize that this topic is just as depressing as all the other news, but the point I want to make is that most of these veldfires are in fact crime scenes. The only problem is that they are not treated as such, and the question to ask is – WHY NOT? Is it because the country is fast running out of manpower and expertise to deal with the different kinds of chaos going on, or are the other reasons? I don’t know, read on and decide for yourself:

The previous article on this issue mentioned the names of two farmers, Attie Haasbroek and Herman Lochrenberg from the Schweizer-Reneke region, who confronted four blacks in the area whom they suspected of committing arson (starting veldfires). The confrontation ended up in a tussle, and as a consequence the two farmers were charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property.

The last news reports on the incident is dated ages ago (22 August 2011), and mentions that both farmers were arrested and released on R5000 bail each. Their cases were postponed to 15 September 2011 for further investigation, but it appears that not one single media-agency in the country bothered to publish a follow-up report on the story.  A Beeld report, dated 22 August 2011, mentions that a charge of arson was also laid against the ‘alleged victims’. The report mentions their names as follows: Mothibi Mo­sepele, Mampiki Chakapedi, Mamaki Sirwe, and Nunu Moopelwa. However, since then the media has not delivered a single follow-up report on the incident.

This year South Africa has once again experienced its fair share of devastating wildfires, with the media frequently reporting the cause as “unknown”.  Sure enough – veldfires are a persistent problem in many parts of the world, and the causes thereof are wide-ranging.  In South Africa ignition is sometimes sparked off by God Himself, in the form of lightning. However, lightning cannot be the cause during dry seasons as this ‘striking’ phenomenon is absent during dry seasons… Yet, it is during the dry seasons (winter) that veldfires are more widespread, not only in rural areas but everywhere – including urban areas, as the following photograph illustrates, taken on 17 Aug. 2012 @ 16:26 near my home in Pretoria-East:

Location: Hans Strijdom Drive, Pretoria-East.  The circles in red on this picture indicate the location of groups of illegal squatters. In most cases it is “they” and “their kind” that start these fires. In “Crime Scene” language they would (and should) be regarded as SUSPECTS. (Click on picture for a larger view.)

In an article published near the beginning of August 2012, written by Olivia Rose-Innes (, titled Stopping the firestarters, she reports as follows:

“In the Overberg region of the Western Cape alone, there have been 120 wildfires over the past three weeks, causing one death, two severe injuries and millions of rands’ worth of damage. This spate of fires is strongly suspected to have been set with malicious intent, yet no fire scene investigations have been conducted. Wildfires are overwhelmingly the fault of careless or malicious people.  An estimated 90% are caused by humans, roughly 30% on purpose.” -Olivia Rose-Innes is a trained wildfire forensics assistant and volunteer wildfire fighter.

The article I’ve quoted from above is a worthwhile read, and provides some revealing answers to the question: How do you investigate a crime scene that may cover several square kilometres, and a weapon that incinerates all it touches? - Click here to visit.

The current situation for August 2012 is roughly as follows:

Free State – The province seems to be the worst-hit, with reporting the destruction of 257,000ha of grazing in the province this year. The same report also mentions that an estimated 50,000ha of land, destroyed by fires, was started at municipal dumping sites. -- (Who lives on these dumping sites?)

A City Press report quotes Malcolm Procter, department of agriculture spokesperson, who mentioned that more than 20 veld fires had been reported in a matter of 24-hours in the Free State. Many of the farmers lost everything… “This is a disaster, I have never seen something such as this,” farmer, Sias Hoffman, from Dewetsdorp, told Volksblad newspaper.

KwaZulu-Natal - After a week of bitter cold and heavy rain and snow the weather in KwaZulu-Natal turned to gusting winds fanning 31 veld fires across the province. The worst-hit area was Zululand where a shack fire in Nkwenkwe, near Melmoth, destroyed 50 homes (source). Fires also destroyed power lines that were part of a multi-million rand Eskom project. Source

Eastern Cape – A veld fire destroyed a total of 17 homes in the Zinduneni Village at Ngqeleni. Community members blamed emergency services for not responding quickly. Source

Western Cape – Cape Town’s disaster management centre revealed that 50 people have died in fire-related incidents in the city this year. Read:  Fires take its toll on Cape Town.

Limpopo - Devastating veldfires raged in the Tzaneen area in Limpopo. About 5000 hectares of indigenous land was destroyed. A farmer, Thinus Brandt, lost his life while trying to combat a fire on his farm. Source

Mpumalanga - Spokeswoman Jackie van Wyk said Working on Fire (WOF) fought 24 fires throughout the province on Sunday (12 August)…. That’s 24 fires in ONE DAY, in ONE province! Apparently there were no reports of injuries to either people or livestock. Source

Gauteng – This hell-hole (Gangster’s Paradise) is burning non-stop, and deserves a blog post exclusively devoted to it. Most recently six (6) horses (prized stallions) burnt to death in their stables in Muldersdrift on the West Rand over the weekend, in what is thought to be a revenge attack connected to a labour dispute, Beeld reported on Monday. (See News24 report here)

Here’s a picture of the Muldersdrift crime scene:

Photo: Cornel van Heerden

And so we can go on and on…

Fires, fires everywhere,
And a government who doesn’t really care!
We may as well cast a spoilt ballot,
And FIRE the whole useless rotten lot.

We are in the 21st century are we not? How come in this modern day-and-age we’re still seeing this frightening trend of fiercer, more frequent wildfires that each year decimate natural resources, wreck infrastructure, take a heavy financial toll on landowners, and kill?

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PS: Late Breaking News on this Topic! - (27 August 2012)


About 20 veldfires in three days near Modimolle (Nylstroom), Limpopo.

The fires broke out at key points where bundles of gras were gathered together and set alight. Maroela Media reported on the incident. The police are investigating.

Boere het hul hande vol met veldbrande


whiteson said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

I fully agree with you on this one Tia. In early winter this year, I lost 1200m of high pressure water pipes. The irony is that one of my own workers started the fire. When asked why and whatfor he started it, his intelligent answer was "because I wanted to clean my yard". That monday afterwards, they did'nt had any water, so he said to me "en nou moet die baas nuwe pype kry". Needless to say I nearly killed the houtie. Really, I feel very sorry for those farmers who have had losses. And it's every year about this time, despite all the measures to try and prevent such to happen.

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

The story about the Muldersdrift fire is absolutely heart breaking and I could just cry when I think about what those poor animals must have gone through.

It defies human comprehension that someone could to set fire to the stables, knowing fully well that the poor defenseless horses would die the most gruesome of deaths. You and I couldn’t do that to a rabid dog and yet these guys do it without any feelings of compunction whatsoever. Retribution to Blacks is everything though and they will consciously and deliberately inflict the greatest amount of pain in order to take maximum revenge. They would have known what those horses meant to their owners and also that they treated them like their own children, hence they became the target.

One only has to consider how easily they are able carry out their hideous necklacing executions to realize that we will never understand how their minds work; never ever. To them it is no different to swatting a fly.

I’ve seen incredibly disturbing footage of mobs of them gleefully dancing around their burning and dying victims, and not once have they shown any signs of any remorse at all; on the contrary, they enjoy it. They are wired totally differently to us and I doubt very much if any of them are born with a conscience. In fact, they probably don’t even know the meaning of the word and nobody would ever be able to explain it to them.

A common denominator amongst them is their insatiable appetite for inflicting pain and the world still wonders why we wanted to have separate development in South Africa.

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Click here for a cartoon that explains it all.

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