State negligience contributing to veld fires – TAU SA

State negligience contributing to veld fires – TAU SA

30 August 2011

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South Africa — Louis Meintjes says firebreaks on state-owned land absent or ineffective

Questions about fire management: Serious concerns are raised about the State adhering to its own laws

Mr. Louis Meintjes, Deputy President of TAU SA, said that the causes of the devastating wildfires across the country are still being investigated, “but from evidence we get it emerges that the Government itself does not comply with all requirements for property owners regarding fires.”

Mr. Meintjes said that in many cases no preparations have been done by the State on their land before the fire season, or firebreaks are absent or ineffective. “Many fires occur, either willfully or negligently, on road reserves under the control of the State. Only in exceptional cases the road reserves are properly prepared for the fire season.

“Another major concern is that the State is not involved in fire associations, as prescribed by law. The fires of the past week also showed the lack of any or sufficient disaster management capacity. Farmers could only rely on their own resources. However, many farmers who lost everything are expected to continue paying tax to state institutions who do not provide any support or services. This matter need to be addressed urgently and thoroughly. “

Farmers who experienced severe losses or damage due to this negligence of the State must not hesitate to file claims against the State. TAU SA will be available for assistance in this matter.

Mr. Meintjes also expressed his appreciation to farmers who assisted co-farmers in getting food and other necessities. Farmers who are in need for any help, or others who can be of assistance can contact any regional office of TAU SA or even the head office.

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