A 62-year-old pensioner, Thembinkosi Nzuza of Ngudwini, KwaZulu-Natal, was burnt to death when he tried to extinguish raging veld fires.
The fires destroyed large tracts of grazing land yesterday.
Nzuza and other members of his community were fighting wild fires when he was overcome by smoke and burnt to death.
Another pensioner, Enock Mthembu, 62, sustained serious burn wounds and was taken to the Mbongolwane Hospital in a critical condition.
Eshowe police spokesman Inspector Mbongeni Mdlalose said nobody knew how the fires started.
Mdlalose said no foul play was suspected but an inquest would be conducted on Nzuza's death .
Meanwhile, a man believed to have been a member of a gang of burglars was shot dead in Marrianhill.
Superintendent Daniela Veldhuizen said a suspect already in custody "provided information on four other robbers wanted for at least 10 robberies in the area".
"The p olice went to a house in Marrianhill where the suspect opened fire on them," she said .
She said police shot back and the man was killed.
Two other robbery suspects were arrested.