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Welcome to SAMI GEORGE GAZETTE Sunday, September 24 2017 @ 08:41 am SAST

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Dele van George steeds onder digte rook

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GEORGE NUUSFLITS & VIDEO - Die veld en woud agter Plantasieweg in Heatherlands onder die berg smeul steeds na hewige brande gister gedreig het om verskeie wonings langs die groen strook te verswelg.

Brandweermanne moes bont staan om die vlamme weg te hou. Digte rook hang steeds oor die woonbuurt, maar volgens die brandweer is alles in die gebied onder beheer.

In Myrtleweg het 'n huis se dak gebrand en altwee die heinings en vier palmbome by dié huis is in die vuur verswelg. By 'n huis in Erikaweg het 'n palm ook soos 'n fakkel gebrand, maar die brandweer kon daarin slaag om die vlamme te blus. Drie brandslange is ingespan om die brandende boom te blus. Die vlamme het ook aan die huis begin lek-lek, maar gelukkig het die wind bedaar en is die huis gered.

Lientjie Saayman van die Heatherlands buurtwag se huis is baie naby aan die woud gelee en sy het vanoggend aan die George Herald gesê dat hulle gister talle benoude oomblikke beleef het, maar dat die brandweer hulle uitstekend van hulle taak gekwyt het.

“Toe ons hoor dat ‘n boom in Erikastraat brand het ek baie groot geskrik, want ons is baie nader aan die bos en veld waar dit gebrand het. Ons het gelukkig nie skade nie, maar dit sal ‘n tyd vat om van die rookreuk ontslae te raak.”

Saayman se kleuterdogter, Jessica, is in ‘n skooltjie in die gebied en ouers het gejaag om hulle kinders te gaan haal in geval rook en vlamme die skooltjie sou oorval.

Sy is ‘n aktiewe lid van die buurtwag en sê mense was wonderlik. “Inwoners het broodjies en water vir die brandslaners gegee en deur middel van ons Whats App groep is almal op hoogte van verwikkelinge gehou.”

George fires cause damage

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GEORGE NEWS & VIDEO - The fire damage following yesterday’s runaway fires in and around George runs into millions of rands.

Four houses in Wilderness were razed and a farm barn containing a tractor, farm implements and 1000 bales of lucerne were razed to the ground just South of Pacaltsdorp on the well-known Gericke family farm, Die Bof.

In Myrtle Road, Heatherlands the roof of a house caught fire and the fencing was destroyed after four palm trees caught aflame.

Gerhard Otto, Eden Emergency Head, says he is still trying to establish the identities of the owners of the destroyed homes, but that it seems the houses were all permanent family homes and not holiday homes. “This time the fires were different in the sense that most of the fires started in neighbourhoods around homes. The cause of the fires are still unknown, but it could have been caused by vagrants or cigarette butts. The wind didn’t help. We will investigate the cause of the fires.”

The Wilderness Hotel provided free accommodation for the families who lost their homes.

This morning farmer Stephan Gericke of Die Bof told Lizette da Silva that apart from the barn, a large section of his farm, which contains lots of fynbos, was also burnt. “Despite this, I am very happy that no one was injured and that there was no loss of life.”

At his vegetable packing plant Tikketai, some of the crates were destroyed. Gericke, the son of famous Georgian Tannie Greta, said it was too early to speculate about the full extent of the damage and that he will issue a press release on Monday. He thanked their neighbours and the fire services for their excellent work. Contrary to earlier reports the family was never evacuated, but they took Tannie Greta to another house on the farm for safety.

Otto stressed that no controlled fires were started on Thursday as planned. “The plans to start controlled fires were immediately cancelled when the wind picked up overnight. But, the fact that we were planning to start controlled fires on the mountain turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as all our firemen, trucks and air control were on standby."

He says 50 firefighters were deployed, and about 10 firefighting vehicles were used. In Hoekwil two choppers and one fixed wing aircraft bombarded the flames from the air.

Otto thanked the public for their cooperation. “Thank you also to those who provided cold drinks and food for our men.”

He appealed to motorists to drive very slowly in the smoky conditions as firefighters conducting mopping up operations could be working inside the heavy smoke.

Mopping up operations entail pulling and ‘sweeping’ smouldering embers and tree trunks to the burnt areas to prevent fires from flaring up again. The smouldering matter will also be doused with water.

George mayor resigns

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UPDATE: George mayor resigns

‘The timing of Standers’s resignation is obviously suspicious.’

George Mayor Charles Standers has today announced that he will resign from the DA at the end of his term after the election on August 3.

This follows his suspension from the DA caucus on Tuesday.
Standers was suspended after a media conference with the George Herald on Friday last week, which the DA caucus deemed to be in contravention of DA party policy as the mayor did not consult the caucus, George Herald reported.

At the media conference Standers distanced himself from the termination of certain employee contracts at the municipality, the withdrawal of charges against a DA councillor regarding alleged electricity theft and a tender that was awarded which he questioned. As one of the reasons for his resignation Standers said it was the “interference by the regional DA structures in the municipality”.

Jaco Londt, the leader of the DA East division, responded: “It is very telling that Mr Standers plans to end his relationship with the DA only after his term ends. It’s clear he wants to have his cake and eat it.”

He said the timing of Standers’s resignation is “obviously suspicious, given the ongoing disciplinary proceedings against him”.

“These proceedings against Cllr Standers will continue, as far as I know.”

He said the DA did not hesitate to take action against those, no matter their positions, whose conduct had been found wanting.

“I’m confident that the DA has an extremely strong and competent team under the leadership of the new mayoral candidate, Cllr Melvin Naik,” added Londt.

Rumours abound that Standers is planning to join the ANC and that an announcement in this regard is imminent.

However, Standers declined to comment, saying he was “consulting with his advisers” and that he would reveal his future plans in due course.
– Caxton News Service

SOUTH AFRICAN MEMORY INSTITUTE

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