— HeraldLIVE (@HeraldPE) June 15, 2017
Standing on a hill in Knysna Heights on Thursday‚ President Jacob Zuma described the scene that confronted him as the “worst disaster I have ever experienced”.
From there he was accompanied to the devastated White Location by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille‚ DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela‚ cooperative governance minister Des van Rooyen and other officials.
At first‚ residents appeared to be happy to see Zuma‚ singing as they greeted him. But as he left‚ they saw Zille and began dancing and singing with her. People who were rebuilding their homes stopped and joined in.
Asked about making an appearance with Zuma‚ Zille said that beyond politics “South Africans come together at the best times and at the worst times‚ such as this”.
According to Zille’s office‚ about 10 000 people were evacuated last week as fires — fanned by gale force winds — tore through the area. Several people lost their lives.
On Wednesday‚ the Western Cape cabinet announced that it would inject R75-millionin emergency funding to tackle the damage in Knysna and surrounding areas.