19 January 2017
Statement by Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell.
WC fires update
Allegations of criminal activity, Fire updates
Several fires continue across the Western Cape.
A major fire in the Stilbaai area has caused serious damage to power lines and farms in the area. Farmers are urged NOT to light back burns without the consent of the incident command centre. Across a large area, all fences and grazing has been lost and virtually no vegetation remains. Five houses have been reported to have been destroyed.
Fires in the Paarl area are contained but hotspots could still exist on the perimeter. Monitoring continues.
In the Tulbagh area the situation is stable and there’s no immediate threat to property. There is still an active fire line but it is still high in the Winterhoek mountains.
Colin Deiner, head of Disaster Management in the Western Cape says the PDMC has noted several reports alleging arson and fire starting.
“None has been verified to date. No pilots have to date reported suspicious behavior. In addition, the very capable firefighting teams, many wearing bright yellow shirts, are actively burning firebreaks in some areas. Members of the public are requested to apply caution when distributing material alleging suspicious behavior.”
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says any suspicious activity must be reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
“At the moment our focus is on putting out the fires still burning, however we fully intend to investigate the causes of the fires as soon as we can. Anyone with information in this regard must please come forward and provide the information to us.”
Members of the public within the affected areas are urged to remain calm and to cooperate with authorities and firefighting entities when called upon to do so.
When reporting fires, please contact your Local District Municipality
· City of Cape Town - 107 or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone
· Overberg - 028 425 1690
· West Coast - 022 433 8700
· Eden - 044 805 5071
· Central Karoo - 023 414 2603
· Cape Winelands - 021 887 4446
· Crimestop – 08600 10111
Spokesperson for the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell
Mobile: 084 583 1670
Telephone: 021 483 2820