No aid to fire hit North West farmers

20 March 2012 - 11:40 By Sapa

North West province farmers who suffered about R55 million in losses during veld fires in 2011 will not receive disaster compensation from the government.

Flames. File photo.
Flames. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock
Flames. File photo.
Flames. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Beeld reported that according to Agri North West executive manager, Boeta du Toit, the government originally promised the farmers R7 million, but failed to honour the agreement.

North West agriculture department spokeswoman, Bonolo Mohlakoane, on Friday denied compensation was ever promised.

After the fires in August and September 2011, her department circulated forms among the farmers to determine the extent of the damage, she said.

One farmer and two farm workers were killed battling the disaster, and many more were injured. Around 260,000 hectares of grazing land were destroyed and around 3000 head of cattle and game killed, Beeld reported at the time.

If farmers did not receive government help soon, it could mean the beginning of a downward spiral, especially for small-scale operators who could not afford insurance, Du Toit said.

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