Reasons for FPAs • Co-operation among rural owners and managers of land is required for the effective management and prevention of veldfires. • Government cannot take on the duties and responsibilities of landowners for fire protection. The Act places this responsibility on landowners.
Advantages of FPAs (1) • Benefits of co-operation in fighting & preventing veldfires • Cost saving by avoiding duplication of services • Enforceable rules of FPA protect members • FPOs empowered to enforce provisions of Act and rules • Advice and assistance to members • Improved communication between members • Improved communication between members and the Minister and other roleplayers
Advantages of FPAs (2) • Possible relief from certain prevention measures eg firebreaks • Decreased risk of veldfires • Better negotiation powers • Possible decreased insurance premiums • Possible assistance from the Minister • No presumption of negligence in civil claims
Costs in forming an FPA • There will be costs in forming and running an FPA: • Costs in time needed for meetings to set up and run FPA • FPAs must report to the Minister on fire statistics and info needed for the fire danger rating system • FPO and other officials may need to be paid • Administrative efforts to keep an FPA running e.g. keeping a register of all members, informing members of the current fire danger rating • Financial costs of maintaining an FPA e.g. costs for FPO to travel to inspect members’ land
Costs versus benefits • FPA should not be formed where its costs will be greater than the benefits it provides to members. • FPAs should be cost-beneficial. • FPAs should be established in areas where the hazard of veldfires justifies the costs of organising and maintaining the FPA. • The justifiable level of hazard must be judged locally. • Eg: in the Cape Peninsula the hazards of veldfires on the urban edge are so great that establishing an FPA is cost-beneficial.
When may an FPA be formed? • Section 3 of the Act makes it possible for any group of owners who wish to co-operate to predict, prevent, manage and extinguish veldfires to form an FPA.
Who is an “owner”? • “Owner” has its common law meaning and includes • any landowner with a title deed to property • lessee • lessees who lease DWAF commercial plantations • a person who rents land from the owner • any person controlling land under a contract • a lease is a type of contract • any person controlling land under a law • eg managers of State forests who control the land under the NFA
Who is an “owner”? • any person controlling land under a will • eg where someone has the right to control land until she dies, at which point it will go to the heir • any person controlling land under an order of the High Court • the executive body of a community set up under its constitution, law or custom • a Minister or person authorised by him/her where the land is State land and it is not controlled by someone else
Who is an “owner”? • a member of the executive council or a person authorised by him/her where the land is provincial land and is not controlled by someone else • chief executive officer of any local authority or a person authorised by him/her
What about communities? • Land controlled by a community could be private land (where the community owns it), or State land held in trust. • Most land controlled by communities is held in trust by the State or the Ingonyama Trust. • The NV&FFA states that where land is controlled by a community, regardless of the ownership of the land, the executive body of that community is the owner.
What about communities? • The executive body can exist in terms of: • its constitution (where the community has formed a communal property association and owns the land) • any law (for example, where a tribal authority was appointed by law) or • custom or customary law (where a chief or headman and the tribal elders may control the land) • On a single piece of State land held in trust, several different communities might control portions of it. • Each community should be represented in the FPA by its executive body.
What about State land? • Only where State land is not controlled by • a person contemplated in s2(1)(xiii)(a) (a title deed holder, lessee, or person controlling the land in terms of a contract, will, law or order of the High Court) or • a community will the Minister of the govt dept or member of the provincial executive council exercising control over the land, or a person authorised by him or her need to be represented on the FPA
Membership of FPAs is voluntary for certain owners • Landowners can choose whether to join the FPA or not. • This is because: • The right to freedom of association in the Constitution must be upheld. • Landowners themselves need to make firm commitments to co-operate through FPAs.
Who is compelled to join? • The owners of • State land • municipal land where there is a fire service must join an FPA if one forms in their area. • State land means • national or provincial land • land held in trust for communities by the Minister of Land Affairs or the Ingonyama Trust • excluding municipal land
Boundaries of an FPA • Section 3: The area where an FPA is formed should be relatively uniform in terms of • having regular veldfires or • its veldfire risk or • its climatic conditions or • its forest types or other vegetation
Boundaries of FPAs • Form FPAs only where they are definitely needed. • The area of an FPA should be optimum i.e. not too big to be able to fulfil duties and not too small to justify the costs involved. • The Act leaves this matter open - each case must be judged on its own merits. • An FPA may usefully correspond with one or more local municipalities (category B). • But there may be cases where an FPA would for good reasons include only part of the area of a local municipality.
Prioritisation of FPAs • Head office will establish the framework for priorities in the country, by using a “risk assessment” modelling approach that ranks district municipalities according to overall fire risk in each. • These will be discussed and finalised with Provincial Disaster Management Centres by DWAF
How will prioritisation be done? • Fire Advisors will inform local Disaster Management Centres (DMCs) • Fire Advisors will establish communication with local initiators of FPAs: • District DMCs • Fire Services (CFO) • emergent Umbrella FPAs • local leaders • Nature Conservation
How will prioritisation be done? • Fire Advisors will advise initiators on the priorities for their Districts and the optimum configuration for FPAs in their Districts.
Where no FPA has been formed • The Minister may intervene when no FPA has been formed in an area in which s/he is of the opinion one should be formed. • Minister may call a meeting to discuss setting up an FPA and to establish what kind of support is required.