THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) bomb disposal unit and the Bulawayo Fire Brigade had to be called in after a grenade exploded at a Bulawayo school during a routine burning of grass and rubbish.
The incident that occurred two months ago has been indicated as one of the “fires of interest” by the Bulawayo City Council, with councillors expressing concern over issues to do with safety and the need to investigate the origins of the grenade.
According to the latest council report, ground workers at Ntshamathe Primary School in Old Magwegwe where clearing the grounds and decided to burn the grass and rubbish after, when the bomb exploded.
“The school workers had cleared the school ground at Ntshamathe Primary School and in the process of burning the grass and rubbish, the fire went out of control and spread to the rest of the ground.
While the fire was burning a very loud explosion was heard from the grounds and a dark cloud was observed with trembling of nearby houses. It was later discovered after the ZNA bomb disposal unit had attended that a grenade had exploded.
This is one of the risks that our fire-fighters face in the process of fighting bush fires,” reads the report.
Commenting on the incident, during a full council meeting last Wednesday, Ward Four Councillor, Silas Chigora said while the incident appeared to be isolated there was a need for council to take it more seriously and engage the army to check public places and assure the public of their safety.
“This happened in a school, which in itself is scary. The question is are we really safe in Bulawayo? Where did this grenade come from, how did it end up in the school grounds? Is it a grenade from the times of the liberation struggle? Something really has to be done to make sure that our public places are safe, if possible let us invite the army to generally go through all the schools and public places. We really have to assure the public’s safety,” said Clr Chigora.
Meanwhile, councillors have commended the local authority for coming up with the consolidated fire by-laws which among other things has made it a finable offence for property owners not to display their house numbers. Last month, the local authority updated its Fire Brigade by-laws which among other provisions made it a Level Three offence for home owners not to display their house numbers at their premises.
The level offences are benchmarked to the Government levels where Level Three is attracting a fine of $5 000. Debating during the full council meeting, councillors commended the local authority for coming up with the by-laws and further encouraged the putting up of street names so as to further improve property identification.
“Alderman Siboniso Khumalo applauded the Fire and Ambulance Department for coming up with a good move to fine residents who did not display their property numbers. He urged the relevance development to also anchor street names as they would also make identification of a property/house easier in case of emergency. He wanted to know if the system was in use and also reliable,” reads the report.
The Chamber Secretary, Mrs Sikhangele Zhou, revealed that the by-laws had been advertised for comments from stakeholders before finalisation and gazetting.
– Sunday News