DA welcomes release of summary report into Table Mountain fire 

Please find an attached soundbite by Dave Bryant MP 

The DA welcomes the summary of the report on the Table Mountain fire which was released yesterday. At this stage only an executive summary has been released to the public and it is essential that the full report be made public as soon as it is possible to do so.

The DA was first to request a comprehensive and independent investigation into the fire and we are glad that the results of this investigation are now available. The summary of the report appears to vindicate initial suspicions regarding how the fire was able to spread so quickly.  An excerpt from the report clearly states that: “dry fuels near buildings and infrastructure such as thatch roofs, pine and palm trees, ivy, leaves in gutters, are very likely to burn from windblown embers, resulting in buildings catching on fire” and goes on to state that this is what occurred during the April fires.

It is now essential to establish whether SAN Parks and UCT leadership were aware of these impending dangers and if so, why they had not acted sooner to remove and/or manage the fuel loads. It has been reported that the bank of pine trees and debris behind the university had been identified and discussed by both UCT and SAN Parks as a potential fire risk many years prior to the fire and that this was included in an official heritage report commissioned by the university.

The destruction of public and private buildings as well as many priceless historical documents was devastating and cannot be allowed to happen again. Any suspected negligence arising out of the report must be investigated thoroughly and requisite steps taken.

We welcome the ongoing criminal investigations into the original cause of the fire and the growing suspicion that the fires may have been started on purpose. If this is the case, we hope that those responsible are apprehended soon and that they face the full might of the law.

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