Fire kills female farm worker, 50

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and local police are investigating the death of a woman farm worker who died last week after she was allegedly forced to put out a fire on her employer's farm.

Sdudla Magwaza, 50, a mother of six, was employed at Willow Farm near Dannhauser.

She burnt to death when she was trapped by a runaway veldfire after she and fellow workers were allegedly forced by the farmer to put out the flames.

Malifa Mokoena, Magwaza's brother-in-law, claimed to have heard from other workers that farmer Ian de Jager did not "show any sympathy".

Mbulelo Baloyi, spokesman for the department, said it was "very unfortunate" that a farm worker had died when farmers were being trained how to extinguish a fire.

Police spokesman Captain Shooz Magudulela said an inquest would be held, but police were having difficulty getting hold of De Jager.

Sowetan tried to contact De Jager, but his phone remained unanswered.