Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen visited Somerset West on Monday to take in the damage done by the recent fires in the Helderberg mountains.
The fires forced several waves of evacuations last week, also prompting a temporary closure of the crucial N2 freeway.
The damage has been valued at millions of rands, but the final amount has yet to be deduced.
According to the GCIS, Van Rooyen met with several local officials, and applauded efforts to bring the fire under control.
“t is through the dedication and selfless work by all involved that the loss of life as well as major property and ecological losses were averted,” he says. “This is a good example of how we can achieve the best results by combining our resources to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the public and our natural resources.”
The Minister believes that harsher penalties should be imposed on arsonists, as most fires are started by people, and such behavior should be dissuaded.
He further believes that education is key to highlighting the dangers of fires.