Free State Veld fires: DA welcomes Premier Magashule’s declaration of a provincial disaster

Roy Jankielsohn

Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature

The DA welcomes the declaration by Premier Ace Magashule of a provincial disaster in the Free State Provincial Government Gazette (No 63 of 10 October 2014) caused by the devastating veld fires in the Dihlabeng, Maluti-a-Phofung and Mohokare local municipalities.

While the response by government to alleviate the impact of this disaster has been slow, this declaration by the Premier now paves the way to apply for immediate relief aid. We call on Premier Magashule to expedite the application to access funds from national government that will financially assist rural communities affected by this disaster.

The DA has been applying pressure on the provincial government to declare a disaster for almost a month and a half. During this time many families have suffered loss of property, livestock and family members, with little to no support from government.

The financial wellbeing of rural communities have also been negatively affected in the desperate need to purchase feed for livestock so us to prevent further livestock losses due to the resulting famine.

The provincial government must now do everything in its means to ensure a rapid response to alleviate the suffering of communities endured over this period.