6 October 2021

Help is now coming from what seem to be the unlikeliest of places in the wake of the Northern Cape veldfires which have left widespread devastation in only a few days. Yet, much more help is needed.

The Kimberley diamond mining company, Ekapa, and Northern Cape-based agribusiness GWK, have joined forces to provide assistance. More than 100 000 ha of scorched earth in areas between Schmidtsdrift, Campbell, Douglas, Kimberley, Magersfontein and Jacobsdal have been left behind.

Ekapa and GWK – in collaboration with and through co-ordination by Agri Northern Cape – have managed to build up an emergency crisis fund to the value of R2 million to help. Much more help is still needed where the fires affected countless animals of all sorts and people from all walks of life.

Farmers and their families, farmworkers, other members of farming communities, and Ekapa personnel with their firefighting equipment gathered to fight fearlessly against the fires and to gather food and water, all while having to make plans to get animals out of danger. Motorists were trapped behind the fires where reports were received of people who had to watch burnt animals run anxiously across the N12 between Kimberley and Ritchie to seek shelter.

This follows other recent fires that ravaged large parts of the Northern Cape and Free State – it is estimated that more than 400 000 ha has been destroyed by veldfires in the last few months alone.

Just One Drop initiative

According to Neil de Klerk, executive head of marketing and communication for GWK, Ekapa CEO Jahn Hohne approached GWK to get involved in relief efforts. This allowed GWK and Ekapa to take hands and implement help through GWK’s existing Just One Drop initiative that was started to support farmers in need during the drought. Just One Drop is now utilised to assist after the devastating fires.

“It might seem like an unlikely source of help, but we have come to know Ekapa for the way they care about people and the environment in their immediate area. The Hohne family and Ekapa are known for their work and selfless investment in our communities, specifically for wildlife protection which is very close to their hearts. This aligns closely to how GWK and our leadership team feel about our responsibility towards our environment and communities,” says De Klerk.

“It is impossible for us not to get involved and assist after seeing devastation on such a scale. We stand here for the animals who are standing on scorched earth,” Hohne says.

Llewellyn Brooks, GWK group managing director, says GWK is truly blessed with the support of farmers and simply cannot stand back and not provide assistance while being in a position to help.

“We are inspired by and stand in awe of the farmers and communities who have come together to fight fearlessly against the fires. It is an honour for us to work in collaboration with Ekapa on an initiative like this. And, together with Ekapa, we appeal to our partners, suppliers, financial institutions, and the business sector in general to get involved and support Agri Northern Cape to get help to our farmers and their animals as soon as possible.”

Nicol Jansen, president of Agri Northern Cape, says it is an honour to be trusted as an implementation agency by two well-respected companies that have the well-being of Northern Cape farmers at heart.

“Agri Northern Cape will implement this project through the Agri Northern Cape Foundation, a non-profit company owned by Agri Northern Cape which is well positioned to handle disaster relief and fund-raising with Article 18A certification. Other corporates, businesses and individuals are welcome to join this project to discuss value proposition options available by contribution to this worthy cause.” – Press release, Agri Northern Cape, Ekapa, and GWK

For donations of emergency feed and financial contributions, contact Janine Byleveld at janine@agrink.co.za or 073 291 0557.
Financial contributions can also be made directly to:
Agri Northern Cape Foundation
ABSA
Cheque account number: 409 919 4690
Reference: NNDBRANDE