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15 August 2017

The DA in the Western Cape is seeking clarity from the findings of the forensic report into the cause of the recent devastating fire that ravaged Knysna and other parts of the Southern Cape. Yesterday, 14 August 2017, the Knysna Fire Chief, Clinton Manual, provided an update to the media on the possible origin of the fire, stating that it could have been due to human involvement, which was not necessarily deliberate.

The report by Fire Chief Manual is welcoming, as it brings us closer to finding the actual cause of the fire, which led to one of the biggest disasters in the history of South Africa. Damage to infrastructure and 14 000 hectares of forest and fynbos in the area have been estimated at over R 300 million. Seven people also tragically lost their lives.

I will invite the Knysna Fire Chief, along with Disaster Management Services to the Provincial Standing Committee on Local Government to present these findings to us. This will allow us to engage with the report and better acquaint ourselves with its findings moving forward. Furthermore, it presents us with an opportunity to give those who were affected by this disaster, especially families who lost loved ones, some form of closure.

In addition, I would like to once again commend Disaster Management Services for having deployed the largest operational team of fire-fighting personnel in a single incident in South Africa’s history, and for their unwavering public service during this particularly difficult time. On 11 June, more than 1000 men and women, 78 vehicles and 19 buses fought the inferno in the Southern Cape.

It is vital that Government continues to support those who were affected by this disaster, making sure that they are able to swiftly get back on their feet.

As the DA in the Western Cape the well-being of all residents remains our main priority, especially under such adverse weather conditions and in the face of anomalies with regard to our climate.

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