13 June 2017

South Africa: Minister Des Van Rooyen Visits Knysna to Assess Fire Damages, 14 Jun

press release

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), honourable Des Van Rooyen will visit Knysna area tomorrow (14 June 2017) which was affected by the deadly inferno that raged for a number of days.

The Minister will receive a briefing together with the Western Cape Provincial government Exco in Knysna. After the briefing, Minister van Rooyen will also visit areas affected by the fires to assess the damages.

The Minister had earlier visited the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management Centre today (13 June 2017). The Minister was briefed by the team about the events that unfolded since 7 June 2017 when the storm made landfall.

The Minister appreciated the work that was thus far done by the team since the beginning of the extreme weather conditions and the fires. The fires in Knysna were fuelled by storms which are regarded as being the strongest in 150 years.

Minister appreciated the integrated way in which various sectors joined hands to assist those that were in distress. "Your actions confirms that when South Africans come together, nothing is impossible", said Minister.

Thus farm Knysna saw the deployment of the largest firefighting resources and personnel in a single fire incident. To this effect, Minister van Rooyen thanked all stakeholders across the country who contributed in any way towards assisting the situation and the people who were affected.

Some community members lost property, infrastructure was also damaged and 12 lives were also lost (5 through the storms and 7 through the fire).

The mopping up operations have begun and Minister van Rooyen has deployed 2000 Community Works Programme (CWP) participants to assist. Currently, the CWP participants are currently working throughout the province in all the affected areas assisting Municipalities.

In addition, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) has been working with the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) as part of the drought relief project in the area. This technical teams from MISA will continue to do assessments across the area.

Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance

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