Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Zweli Mkhize has saluted the hundreds of firefighters, disaster management officials and other emergency personnel battling the raging veld fires in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
The personnel have since last month spent sleepless nights battling fires, evacuating and rescuing the affected.
Mkhize said the firefighters’ efforts were at the cost of putting their lives at risk.
Eight members of one family tragically perished in the fire in Farleigh, Knysna, in the Western Cape last week. Minister Mkhize has extended his heartfelt condolences to the family.
The Western Cape continues to face fierce fires, with the Garden Route District being the most affected.
“The wild fire has spread over 80 000 hectares. Veld fires have also been reported in Koukamma Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape and emergency teams are deployed in the area as well,” said Cogta Ministry spokesperson Musa Zondi.
The firefighters, emergency medical services, police, traffic officers, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members, SA Social Security Agency officials and other relief and rescue workers have been deployed in the affected areas.
“These are our first responders who have been on the frontline fighting fire, as well as averting a humanitarian disaster ever since the fires broke out. We acknowledge their hard work and professionalism and wish them strength and success,” said Mkhize. – SAnews.gov.za