Call for stiffer penalties against fire offenders

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Pepertua Rojasi

SENATORS have called for stiffer penalties for people who start veld fires in order to protect the environment and people.

This comes after the adjourned debate on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Veld Fire Management.

MDC-Alliance Mashonaland East senator Jane Chifamba said, “experiencing fire is a very painful scenario. It destroys a lot of plantations, homes and crops. When you plant, you will be expecting to harvest, but trees get destroyed by fires.
“People are not taking care of this situation, they are letting fire destroy a lot of crops and the environment. If a person is found without a fireguard, that person should be fined, so that it acts as an example to many people,” said Chifamba.

Senator for Mashonaland West, Joseph Chirongoma added that the law is weak when it comes to starting veld fires.

“It is my wish that we implement the hefty fines on those who are caught starting fire. People should be taught on how to safeguard veld fires. If we are not careful, animals and plants are being destroyed by these veld fires.  In my home area called Chitomborwizi, a family lost everything because of veld fires.”

She said no one should be left behind and that everyone should be equipped with knowledge on how to deal with fires to ensure that both people and animals are protected.

Senator for Chiredzi, Otilia Maluleke said people should work together to prevent veld fires.

“Environmental Management Agency (EMA) officers must work together with councilors, headmen and chiefs and the ministry must also put the Agritex officers to supervise in order to eradicate veld fires,” said Maluleke.