Mangaung endangers lives and property with ignored fire safety measures

Issued by Tjaart van der Walt – DA Councillor Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality
05 Jun 2023 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Cllr Tjaart van der Walt and Sesotho by Karabo Khakhau MP.

The DA is gravely concerned over the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality’s failure to comply with the national veld and forest fires act, posing a significant risk to lives, property, and livelihoods in Mangaung.

Under the National Veld and Forest Fire Act (NVFFA), landowners have a legal obligation to maintain firebreaks. However, the municipality consistently neglects this responsibility on its properties. The absence of adequate firebreaks increases the likelihood of wildfire incidents, particularly from regular fires started by vagrants on vacant municipal land.

Despite repeated warnings from the DA, Mangaung has shown no response to these critical dangers and potential liabilities. In letters dated 18 May 2023 and followed up on 31 May, the DA addressed the Municipal Manager, Mayor, Heads of Department, and officials, alerting them to numerous cases of concern. Furthermore, the broken fencing, absence of firebreaks, and uncontrolled natural growth on this land not only exacerbate fire risks but also facilitate criminal activities in the area.

The DA will persist in holding the municipality accountable by demanding answers from the municipal manager during council meetings and applying additional pressure to address these urgent matters.