By Mbulelo Sisulu
Emalahleni Municipality learnt with shock that two tourism and accommodation facilities were damaged by fire July 20. These are the Indwe Resort in Indwe and the Abathembu Calabash in Cacadu.
Indwe Resort is a municipal tourism facility which offers accommodation, conferencing and entertainment. The facility is comprised of twelve chalets, a conference hall, four igloos, a caravan park, lapper entertainment area, a swimming pool and a guardroom. Three of the twelve chalets and a lapper entertainment area were completely gutted. The total cost of the damage is yet to be determined.
The fire ostensibly started from nearby open fields. Even though the Fire Department of the Chris Hani District Municipality and local business people reacted timeously they could not extinguish the fire due to gusting winds. While busy attempting to douse the fires at Indwe an alarm came that AbaThembu Calabash was on fire and they immediately rushed to the Calabash. In this traditional resort Fire fighters were shocked to find the kraal and two big rondavels on fire. It is also suspected that the fires also started in the nearby grazing veld.
Emalahleni Local Municipality spokesperson Luthando Nqumkana said in the past few weeks they have noticed with dismay that in most of the municipal areas there were fires on the open fields started by unknown individuals.
“These fires put the lives of the people, property and animals at risk. We appeal to members of the community to refrain from starting veld fires as the weather conditions can damage grazing lands, can cause damage to property and can even lead to loss of life. Municipality has since strengthened her capabilities regarding fighting veld fire. In the three towns of Cacadu, Indwe and Dordrecht Fire Protection Associations have been formed. We are also in the process of ensuring that we have enough personnel well capacitated with the necessary resources to deal with fire incidents,” he said.
Nqumkana said they urge communities not to give minor children access to matches and other fire making equipment. They also appeal to all road users not to drop burning cigarettes while travelling.