Overstrand Municipality forks out over R9m for firefighting expenses

The Overstrand Municipality has approved the 'unforeseen and unavoidable expenditure' which wasn't provided for in the its 2018/2019 budget.

Firefighters were on scene in the Betty's Bay area amid a fire on 11 January 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Overstrand Municipality has released more than R9 million for firefighting expenses following a widespread wildfire earlier this month.

The mayor has approved the “unforeseen and unavoidable expenditure” which wasn't provided for in the municipality's 2018/2019 budget.

The figure could increase once exact amounts are finalised and the money has gone towards firefighting resources, like staff overtime and the fixing and replacement of damaged water infrastructure.

Overstrand Mayor Dudley Coetzee told a special council meeting this week the R9.3 million taken out of the budget will be relayed to the provincial government.

One of the biggest expenses was R2.4 million to replace a fire engine destroyed in the blaze.

Coetzee said the fire season from November, has proven to be "extreme" and has posed a "serious financial challenge for the municipality."

There were fires in Hawston, Fisherhaven, Hermanus, Gansbaai, Masakhane and Franskraal.

The worst started in the Betty's Bay on New Year's Eve and led to the death of one woman in Pringle Bay.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)