Faizel Patel – 26/10/2020
Free State Agriculture president Francois Wilken says the fires that ripped through vast areas of farm land in the Free State and Northern Cape over the past week have been brought under control.
Many farms in areas such as Hertzogville, Hoopstad, Bultfontein and Dealesville have been destroyed with many farmers suffering devastating losses following the blaze.
A fire-fighter and a farmer were hospitalised after suffering serious burn wounds, while hundreds of cattle had to be euthanised to relieve their suffering from extensive injuries sustained during the fires.
Speaking to Radio Islam, Wilken says they are currently assessing the losses suffered by the farmers.
“Tomorrow we will assess the losses the guys suffered there and than we will start helping them by spreading the finances we’ve got from the communities.”
Wilken says the cause of the fires may be related to protest action.
“The main fire started in the town of Hertzogville due to protest action there from the community about service delivery. There was a water tanker that was set alight and also tyres that was set alight and that spread into the veld and that is where the main fire started. There is no evidence that it was actually started by people, but the main fire was started by protest actions.”
Wilken says they are unsure if there will be any assistance from the provincial government to farmers who have suffered massive losses adding that there may an huge impact on the agricultural sector following a drought that almost brought the sector to its knees.
Listen to the interview with Francois Wilken