By Jane Sithole, MPL, DA Interim Spokesperson on CoGTA:
The month of June marks the start of the Fire Season. In the past, this season has cost the residents of Mpumalanga millions in damages including agricultural and residential land. It had also resulted in the loss of livestock for certain farmers while some people lost their lives trying to fight veld fires.
According to Working on Fire (WoF), last year the province experienced the worst fire season in seven years and they were able to successfully suppress a total of 447 fires.
Media reports state that almost twenty fires had to be put out by fire fighters from various sectors during the first week of the province’s fire season. Seven of these fires were so large that they needed aerial fire-fighting support.
While some fires are necessary for the rejuvenation of the land, they do carry a potential to cause severe damage if they are not managed properly. As such, the DA urges all Mpumalanga residents to exercise extreme caution when handling fires.
In order to effectively deal with any disasters that may arise due to fires, all Mpumalanga municipalities must have a functioning fire department that is staffed with well-trained individuals who can be relied upon when the need arises.
The DA calls on Cooperative Governance MEC, Refilwe Mtshweni to ensure that all the municipalities in the province are equipped to deal with all fires that would require the assistance of the municipality’s fire and rescue service.