12 June 2017

South Africa: Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs On Cleaning Operations in Western Cape and Eastern Cape

press release

Cleaning operations have begun, but communities still urged to be vigilant

The National Joint Operation Committee (NATJOC) met again today (12 June 2017) to look at the progress made by the teams working on the ground in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.

The NATJOC meeting has been sitting daily since the start of the extreme weather conditions in the Western Cape on 7 June 2017.

The meeting received status reports from various teams:

The South African Weather Services gave a comprehensive update about the conditions expected along the Garden Route areas. Of importance, the meeting noted that strong winds which have been fuelling the fires in the Knysna area have subsided, but the SAWS warned about possible fire flares up.

The meeting noted that the devastating fires in the Knysna area have been brought under control, but communities were urged to remain vigilant as conditions can change.

The meeting noted that as people are moving back to their houses - clean-up operations have begun and all stakeholders are working together. The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), deployed Community Work Programme participants to cleaning and clearing debris to ensure that communities can return to their homes.

CoGTA has again made available technicians through the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) who will assess the damaged infrastructure so that water, sanitation and the other services are reconnected thus bringing back normalcy to the affected areas.

Stakeholders like SASSA, Home Affairs and Basic Education will be urged to assist communities who lost everything. Some schools were also destroyed by the fires that have been raging in the Knysna area. In addition to assisting with humanitarian support, those who were accessing social grants will assist to replace lost or damaged cards in storms and fires in the Western Cape Province.

Even though the fires might have been contained in the Knysna area, NATJOC urged communities in the Eastern Cape to remain vigilant. Fires have now been reported in the Eastern Cape and the emergency teams are working to extinguish them.

The Communities and road users are urged to avoid roads that are not safe and which might lead to risk of injury or loss of life. The NATJOC meeting cautioned the tourists who will be attending the Knysna Oyster festival and the Knysna marathon that will be taking place in the next few days to be alert and cautious when visiting areas that have been negatively affected by storms and fires.

The NATJOC will continue to monitor the situation working with Provincial Disaster Teams.

Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance

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