The hearts of Saai and its members across South Africa go out to the farmers in the Hertzogville area who have lost livestock, pastures, fences and other infrastructure, income of assets in the destructive fires that raged in the area between Christina, Hoopstad, Dealsville and Bultfontein.
Although the losses are still to be determined, damages have already reached disastrous proportions. Several hundred cattle, sheep and game burnt to death or were so mutilated that they had to be put down.
Saai hopes and pressurises the government into providing disaster relief, but government has a poor recent track record of discrimination, fraud and nepotism in terms of disaster relief. Saai will work together with as many network partners as possible to organise farmer-to-farmer assistance and to support families to help them to stay on their farms.
There are alarming reports that the fires started as a result of burning tyres during service delivery protests on the R708 road between Hertzogville and Christiana. The SAPS faces a major challenge in Hertzogville to investigate and prosecute to the same extent as with the Senekal charges and prosecutions for the sake of trust and legitimacy. If the legal process is not perceived to enforce responsibility and accountability, the integrity and stability of the whole polity is being undermined.
Farmers from elsewhere in the country who can provide support in the form of fodder or other resources, or sympathisers who want to contribute to the transportation of fodder to the disaster area can contact Saai at 066 071 6094.
Relief will be provided to farmers in cooperation with all interested and willing organisations in a non-discriminating, transparent manner, regardless of the farmers’ affiliations, membership, race, political preferences, church or language group. Anyone who know of serious need in the area can bring it to Saai’s attention.