Helicopters or jobs?

It was once again fire time in the Overberg last week with a big burn in the Kogelberg and a flames licking on the edge of Gansbaai and Dekelders. The Gansbaai fire burnt in dense rooikrantz (Acacia cyclops) threatening the village and resulting in a helicopter being brought in to bomb the flames to protect the town. It seems crazy that tens of thousands of rands had to be spent on hiring a helicopter when the major threat was the result of highly flammable alien invasive trees. With our president focusing on our countries high unemploymnet and the need for job creation in his state of the nation address we spend thousands of rands on helicopters to fight fires, where this money would be much better spent on providing jobs to clear alien vegetation and thereby drastically reducing fire threats. The Gansbaai fire threatened the Masakhane township which is home to many unemployed people and is completely surrounded by rooikrantz. These mature rooikrantz stands are three meters plus in height and highly flamable compared to the natural strandveld vegetation which barely reaches a meter in height. Its time for the local municipality and private landowners in the region to make a serious investment in clearing this threat, restoring the areas unique natural biodiversity and creating jobs for the poor.

fire in rooikrantz

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