Changes are coming to the National Veld and Forest Fire Act.
And as a landowner, these proposed changes could impact on you.
As the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association (goFPA), we’re now asking goFPA members to take a look at the proposed National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill.
And to provide us feedback on the changes – especially if there are amendments you do not agree with.
The goFPA team has highlighted the most important changes that we support, as well as those we will oppose. We need to receive feedback from you by end-of-business on Tuesday, 20 March 2018.
We’ll then take your inputs to a stakeholder session with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, due on Thursday, 22 March in Stellenbosch.
Some of the points we’ve highlighted (either agree with or disagree with), include:
- Renaming of the Act to: The National Veldfire Act. We propose the term ‘veldfire’ should be replaced by ‘wildfire’. As such, the Act should be called the National Wildfire Act. If the term ‘wildfire’ is used, there will have to be changes to the definitions as well.
- We note our concern with the new definition of ‘veldfire’ in the Act – as it does not fully explain the urban fringe, nor industrial areas with large tracts of land in it.
- We recommend that owners of state land (for example, state-owned enterprises and other public entities) MUST join a registered FPA as proposed in the Act. The current legislation still acts in the favour of the FPA and criminal & civil proceedings are open to pursue as the current law says MUST.
- The bill now allows landowners to better use fire as a management tool – even during high to extreme fire danger rating conditions. This is prevented in the current Act. This will benefit both landowners and conservation and agencies – and this is a change we support.
- The new bill now allows anyone affected by a wildfire to appeal to the Minister against any decisions taken by entities or people acting under a power delegated in the Act. We approve of this change with the protection of the constitution and rules of FPAs.
For a full list of the proposed changes, please get in touch with Louise Wessels. We need your comments by end-of-business on Tuesday 20 March. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org