14 2022


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Parliament – The Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries today conducted public hearing on the National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill [B24-2021] in Tsantsabane in the Northern Cape.

Many of the participants expressed their gratitude to the committee for coming to them to garner their views on the Bill and they appreciated the opportunity presented to them to raise issues of concern to the committee. Some participants supported the amendments on the Bill such as the high costs of preparing or maintaining firebreaks which was almost impossible for the local farmers and communities.

The Chairperson of the Communal Property Association (CPA), Mr Wilfred Monanyane, informed the committee that the role of the CPAs was not in the Bill. He told the committee that when there are veldfires in his community (which is about 30 to 35 kilometres away from Tsantsabane), it is a challenge because when they ask for assistance, by the time such assistance reaches them, the damage has already been done.

Furthermore, he said the roads are not good as a result firefighters struggle to reach the communities. Participants informed the committee about the serious challenge of water shortages they are experiencing and which they reported to the municipality. They told the committee that although there are many mines in the area they do not provide assistance to the community.

Small-scale farmers appealed to the committee for the provision of firefighters as they are farming on municipal land where there are no firefighters or equipment. Participants called for the empowerment of the youth in their community with firefighting knowledge and for the provision of necessary resources for firefighting.

The residents told the committee that they are vulnerable to the veld fires as they have nothing to extinguish the fire with, to ensure that it doesn’t move further. There was also a call for the traditional leaders to be trained to form vibrant fire protection associations to fight fire in their areas.

There were participants who told the committee that they have established an association to fight fires. They said they are happy that state owned organisations are going to become members of the firefighting organisations as that will improve cooperation between all the firefighters. They also called for assistance with fire fighting equipment and training of rural people.

The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Faith Muthambi, told the participants that all their inputs have been captured, and will be followed up with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment. She said the committee will relay all the issues that the participants raised that are unrelated to the Bill, to the relevant government departments and entities. She told the participants that the committee will report to the community in three months’ time.


For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:

Name: Sureshinee Govender

Parliamentary Communication Services | Tel: 021 403 2239 | Cell: 081 704 1109 | e-mail: sugovender@parliament.gov.za

Source by Redazione

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