Veld fires have been raging in the Northern Cape since Sunday, 8 August, resulting in extensive damage to farmland in the province. The department of agriculture, environmental affairs, rural development and land reform says it is aware of the damage while the provincial government will lend assistance in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district.
More than 40 farms between Kuruman and Daniëlskuil have suffered damage due to the fires thus far.
The cause and origin of the fires are unknown, but by the afternoon of 8 August, they have spread into the Lohatla military base and jumped the borders to at least five neighbouring farms between Lohatla and the Daniëlskuil road.
The department says that all possible measures were immediately and since undertaken jointly by the department and other stakeholders to extinguish the fires. These stakeholders include:
- The JTG Disaster Management Centre and farmers’ unions
- The Ga-Segonyana and Gamagara local municipalities
- JTG District Municipality fire resources
- Stakeholders in the mining sector
- Fire Protection Associations
- Personnel of the Lohatla military base
According to a statement released by the department, only one farmhouse has been completely razed so far.
“Some of the farmworkers and land owners had to vacate their households for safety. Several livestock were lost and some were rescued. No human lives were lost or injuries were reported,” the department added.
Northern Cape MEC Mase Manopole has dispatched a team comprising of the John Taolo Gaetsewe district manager and various extension officers to investigate the extent of the damage.
She also said that farmers impacted by the blaze will be assisted with fodder for their animals.
“In such instances when there is massive loss of grazing land, the department provides fodder which will be dispatched to affected farmers. We so far have about 500 bales of fodder which are stored at the Vaalharts fodder bank. Upon receiving a report on the level of the damaged grazing land and affected farms, we will dispatch the fodder,” said Manopole.
She also urged motorists and pedestrians not to throw away cigarette butts while driving or walking, or bottles as the glass can enhance the sun’s rays and start veld fires.
Members of the public are urged to contact the following district managers in case of veld fire outbreaks:
John Taolo Gaetsewe district:
Patrick Tonyane – 082 559 5948
ZF Mgcawu district:
Christo Smit – 082 559 6778
Pixley Ka Seme district:
Ntombi Mokgalagadi – 082 559 7289
Darren Engelbrecht – 082 560 8855
Francis Baard district:
Lilian Senosi – 082 559 6648