Underground fires have been smouldering for more than a month in sections of the Onrus River Peat Wetland area, which is situated on the Camphill School and Farm Community property.

A Section 30A emergency directive was approved by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning on Thursday, 14 February 2019.

This emergency application enables the Camphill Farm Community to proceed with implementation of emergency works to isolate the subsurface fire in order to prevent its spread and ensure its termination to preserve the remaining peat wetland and eliminate the source of risk to human health and safety and property.

The Fire Department has confirmed the fire is extremely dangerous. Because of the intensity and depth of the fire, it is practically impossible to douse it with water or in a manner that is not harmful to the environment. This situation is beyond conventional fire service tactics.

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At a Special Council meeting held on Tuesday, 22 January 2019 Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dudley Coetzee, congratulated councillors for successfully completing a course in Good Citizenship.

They graduated from the Stellenbosch University's School of Public Leadership at the end of last year.
The councillors who completed their course are (l-r) Charmaine Resandt, Fanie Krige, Riana de Coning, Connie Tafu-Nwonkwo, Lindile Ntsabo and Valerie Pungupungu. Pictured with them are Municipal Manager Coenie Groenewald, Mayor Dudley Coetzee and Deputy Mayor Elnora Gillion.

*Cllr Vuyani Macotha was not available to attend the meeting due to work commitments

Throughout the devastating fires of the past few days we have seen and heard of many members of the public, emergency personnel, firefighters and environmental personnel who have found injured animals and taken them to a vet or have assisted by removing animals from areas before the flames of the fire engulf them.  These are our unsung heroes and we would like to thank each and every person that has taken the time to help our animals in need and for caring for our environment.

It will take time for the veld to restore and seeds to regenerate again and this means that the natural food source, shelter and habitat for the animals will have to be provided in another way.  The lack of vegetation in vast areas also impacts on the availability of water and moisture for a myriad of species.

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During a Council meeting held on Tuesday 22 January 2019 in Hermanus’ banqueting hall, Executive Mayor Ald Dudley Coetzee delivered the following address regarding approval of unforeseen and unavoidable expenditure due to fires experienced across the Overstrand.

The Mayor’s speech, is published below:

The fire season for the period to date proved to be extreme, posing a serious financial challenge for the municipality, for our own staff for overtime payment, for vehicle fuel costs as well as for external resources obtained to ensure that the municipality had the necessary capacity to deal with these abnormal circumstances.

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A big thank you to the Gill St Street Watch, part of Table View Neighbourhood Watch, who collected donations of clothing and cosmetics for those affected by the fires in the Overstrand area.

Graham Grobbelaar delivered the contribution and handed it over to Overstrand Municipality’s Disaster Management Team on Friday morning.

Pictured here are Cecil Abrahams (left), Graham Grobbelaar, Justin Brussel and Councillor Kari Brice. In front are Sarolyn Coert, Earl Galant and Verdia Johnson.


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