Economic impact of fires to be assessed
Fires raging across the Western Cape have had a devastating effect on the agriculture and tourism sectors.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said he had requested detail on the financial implication of the fires, with a focus on agriculture and tourism.
The Bezweni Lodge in Somerset West burnt down, displacing 12 tourists. Last week, several guests were injured when the fires raged through the Goudini Spa near Worcester.
“The economic cost is not limited to the financial damage. Businesses will not be able to operate while repairs are underway. This could impact bookings, bottom lines and most importantly, jobs.
“We’ve also had reports of crop damage due to fires in various parts of the province, and in Paarl last night and today.”
Minister Winde said the drought and rising temperatures increased the Western Cape’s fire risk.
“Our Smart Agri team advised of the province’s rising fire threat. Climate change experts projected the frequency and intensity of fires would increase. This is why we have prioritised building local capacity in firefighting and fire risk reduction in our Smart Agri plan. Catchment management is another key priority in Smart Agri. Land owners who fail to manage their catchment areas pose a major threat to their neighbours, and the spread of wild fires.”
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
Physical address: 142 Long Street, Cape Town
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301