Memorial service to be held for Lohatla fallen soldiers

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The Defence and Military Veterans Ministerial leadership and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) top chiefs are expected to be at the Lohatla Combat Training Centre outside Postmasburg in the Northern Cape today.

Details of funerals of the six soldiers who lost their lives will also be finalised.

Minister Thandi Modise, her deputy and top structures of the Defence Department accompanied by the media are expected to be at the centre during a site inspection today.

A memorial service will also be held.

The fire, which allegedly broke out at a nearby mine moved from Kathu, spread rapidly, and ended up engulfing the military base on Friday last week.

Defence and Military Veterans Spokesperson, Siphiwe Dlamini, elaborates.

“We are in contact with the families and after the memorial service, we should be in a position to know where the burials will take place because we have to consult with the families as to when would they like to put their loved ones at their last resting place. So, we will hear from the families about the funerals moving forward.”

Meanwhile, another fire broke out at the training centre yesterday.

The SANDF had stated that it was assessing the latest fire and will respond in due time.

Activists and Citizens Forum has called on the military ombud, Vusi Masondo, to probe who should take responsibility for the first wildfire last week.

The forum’s spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, says ACF is concerned about what has happened at the Lohatla Army combat centre.

“We cannot just accept this horrible incident as one of those things. The cause of this incident must be thoroughly investigated by the military ombudsman. The families and the public ought to know what really happened and who is really responsible for this horrible incident. We call upon the military ombudsman, General Masondo to investigate this painful incident. We convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives in this fire. We also wish all those injured a speedy recovery.”

Related video | SANDF releases names of members who perished in Northern Cape fire: