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Effective linkages and participatory governance in the management of veld fires

Effective linkages and participatory governance in the management of veld fires

South African Journal of Agricultural Extension 38(1): 51-64

Integrated public governance is one of the challenges of Government. The importance of governmental departments, NGOs and stakeholders working together in a coordinated and well-managed manner in times of natural and man-initiated disasters, cannot be emphasised enough. To determine the nature and extent of this, the management of the most severe veld fires during 2008 in the Waterberg District of the Limpopo Province was researched with reference to the nature and extent of the integrated public governance achieved. The agricultural extension officers ' ability to establish interest groups in the respective communities and to build linkages between themselves and other organisations and government institutions has proved invaluable in the quest of the Limpopo Province Department of Agriculture (LDA) to bring about more effective public service delivery in the Province. In the article, notice has been taken of the most prominent legislation in the field of agricultural public service rendering, and the way in which public management per se and governmental relations as 'vehicles ' determined the level of effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the management of three major veld fires in the Alma, Rust de Winter and Dwaalboom areas. The response time by departmental officials of the various spheres of government and the ultimate time when governmental assistance was received, were compared. The vital roles of the Agricultural Extension Officer and the supporting offices of LDA in the management of agricultural related crises, are also highlighted. Lastly some logical conclusions are drawn and recommendations made to improve the agricultural service rendering in the Province.

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