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National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill Should Include a Clause on Finance, Committee Hears

Republic of South Africa: The Parliament

The Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries heard that the National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill should include a clause about finance.

This suggestion was expressed by a majority of the people of Bela-Bela, Mopani and Vhembe districts in Limpopo during the committee’s public hearings on the Bill.

They welcomed the Bill and said that money will be needed for the provision of training to all newly established community-based fire protection associations (FPAs) in order for them to be able to fight the fire when it breaks.

In Waterberg District, the majority of residents who participated in the public hearings called for the inclusion of community property associations as additional legal entities that should join FPAs.

The Bill in its current form proposes that only the owner in respect of state land, including state-owned enterprises, public entities or an organ of state must join a registered FPA in the area in which the land is situated. It further proposes that this should happen within a year after enactment into law by the President.

In Mopani District, most residents complained about people who dispose used diapers in the forest, saying that this practice pollutes the environment and negatively impact on the ecosystem.

In Vhembe District, the committee heard that the Bill is good in its current form as it seeks to resuscitate what was a normal practice in the past, in which traditional leaders used to work with rangers to hold accountable those who start veld fires.

The committee has concluded its three-day public hearings programme in Limpopo and will proceed to Gauteng in the next two weeks.

The committee Cahirperson, Ms Faith Muthambi, said that the committee is not in a position to comment on the public’s inputs until public hearings are concluded in all the nine provinces.

“At the moment we are focused on soliciting and consolidating inputs from memebers of the public and, when we are done, we will sit as the committee to consider and delibarete on all the inputs,” said Ms Muthambi.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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