Wildfires costing Western Cape economy millions - MEC

2017-01-11 21:08
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

PICS: Fires consume historic buildings in Paarl

Firefighters battled fires in Paarl which destroyed several buildings and heritage sites.

Cape Town – Wildfires in the Western Cape, that left several historic buildings in Paarl damaged and gutted a lodge in Somerset West, are placing increased pressure on the economy, says Agriculture MEC Alan Winde.

"It is difficult to quantify the cost, but thousands of rands, into several millions, have been lost in the Western Cape fires," Winde told News24 on Wednesday.

"We continually tally up the estimates," he said.

According to Winde, the impact on the economy extended further than just the properties which had burnt down. The larger economic impact was the loss of money for businesses in terms of outstanding orders, and the staff who were dependent on the business for their livelihood.

Winde said it may take years for operations to be restored to normal.

"It depends on each business, if they had insurance etc. But it will take years to restore the damage of the blaze."

Winemaker Alexandra Mcfarlane, from the burnt down Druk-My-Niet farm in Paarl, said it was unlikely that wine production at their business would be back on track anytime soon.

"I think it is highly unlikely that we will be able to make something of the exact standard that Druk-My-Niet is known for," Mcfarlane said.

"Even if my vineyards survived, all my irrigation pipes have melted, so there is no way to water the vineyards that survived."

According to Agri Western Cape spokesperson Jeanne Boshoff, vineyards may take years to restore.

"It depends on how far the vineyards have been damaged, if the roots are affected etc, but, [after] you replanted a vineyard, you will have a small harvest after three years and only a full production after five years," Boshoff said.

Boshoff also expressed concern about the impact on farmworkers.

"Besides the impact on the economy, several farmworkers also suffered great losses when they lost all of their possessions in the Paarl fire," she said.

Meanwhile, City of Cape Town safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith said the firefighting budget might not be sufficient for the fire season.

"The Somerset West fires have already used a large portion of our firefighting budget. There are still two months left of the fire season and I don’t think we’d have enough money," Smith said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Partner Content
How data is changing investments

Technological disruption is rife in many spheres of business and given the quantity of data available, it’s no surprise that the way in which asset managers work is also changing fast.

Behind the sparkle

Alluring, beautiful and timeless - diamonds are some of the most sought after gems in the world and are a true testament of everlasting brilliance. Let us take you behind the sparkle to show you the history behind this coveted jewel.


Play with your pet when you're not at home

Many pets are alone at home during the week while their owners are at work. So what do these animals get up to while they’re home alone?



How to get rid of fleas
12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.