19 June 2020
KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has sent condolences to two families in Nquthu where a 3-year-old and a 44-year-old died this morning of smoke inhalation following the prolonged inhalation of smoke from a traditional heater (imbawula) fuelled by charcoal.
As a result of these incidents, which took place in Ward 14, four people are receiving medical attention at a local hospital. Reports received by the department indicate that the two neighbouring houses kept their traditional heaters overnight to keep warm. Hlomuka has wished those who are getting medical attention a speedy recovery.
Hlomuka has also called upon residents across the province to exercise great caution when using traditional heaters or generators to stay warm during this cold winter.
Earlier in the week, the South African Weather Service issued a warning about cold temperatures which are expected to continue through the week.
“It is important that we all practise caution whenever we use izimbawula or generators. The tragic incident in Nquthu is regrettable. We do not want to see unnecessary loss of life in our province as a result of smoke inhalation, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic which is already putting pressure on our health facilities,” said Hlomuka.
Hlomuka has dispatched disaster management teams to provide relevant support to the affected families.