FREE STATE VELDTFIRES – DA Requests MEC to Assist Agricultural Community

Roy Jankielsohn MPL

DA Leader in the Free State

Every year the agricultural community in the Free State are victims to ravaging veldt fires. The past week-end, the fires together with strong winds caused damages of about 150 000 hectares of grazing together with livestock and property. Coming from a farming family, I can personally attest to the fear and apprehension that veldt fires cause. It takes months to recover some of the grazing destroyed in such fires and only after good rains. In some instances farmers who are unable to afford the additional food required by animals, or to replace damaged infrastructure, are forced to close their enterprises and sell their livestock and other assets.

It is for this reason that I have requested the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr M.J. Zwane, to react swiftly to the requests for assistance from our agricultural community in the province (see attached letter). If necessary, urgent requests must be made to national government for disaster assistance. Areas that have experienced serious damage could be proclaimed as disaster areas in order to qualify for assistance.

The DA in the Free State will continue to liaise with the department through the legislature in attempts to ensure that the province’s agricultural community continue to make the contributions to the provincial economy through their job creation, food production, and as a source of external income to the province.

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