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Fire season: 'Legislation governing arson attacks needs to be revised'

Western Cape firefighters have responded to over 600 fires across the peninsula since last Tuesday.

Working on Fire firefighters battle a blaze in the Helderberg in the Western Cape. Picture: @wo_fire/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Firefighters have responded to over 600 fires across the peninsula since last Tuesday.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen visited the Somerset West area on Monday following a devastating blaze that swept through the Helderberg last week.

The minister has called for intensified efforts to boost the effectiveness of fire safety awareness campaigns.

Van Rooyen says legislation governing arson attacks needs to be revised.

“We need to engage with the justice cluster to determine if the current legislation is severe enough to stop people from starting fires.”

GALLERY: Western Cape firefighting efforts and the aftermath

Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith says investigators have received information that some fires that broke out in the region since last week were started deliberately.

“We are calling for people to come forward with information. If you saw a vehicle or someone engaging in suspicious behaviour, call us.”

The estimated damage as a result of the inferno is expected to increase to R60 million.

GALLERY: Somerset West fire in pictures

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)